OCTA flags cities with ‘significant increase’ in new COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — Independent research group OCTA has alerted that several cities are recording "significant" rise in new daily COVID-19 cases amid the recent detection of locally acquired cases of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant.

It said on Tuesday that significant increases were recorded in Manila, Makati, Baguio, and Laoag from July 14 to 20.

Manila City, which has two confirmed cases of the Delta variant, recorded the highest jump with an average of 109 new cases daily from July 14 to 20. But a week before that, it was only averaging 82 cases daily.

Aside from these four cities, OCTA reported that 10 others out of the 20 areas included in the list showed rising cases in the past week.

It sounded the alarm that Iloilo City can no longer tend to more patients in the intensive care unit as it has already used up 99% of its capacity, while Taguig City is at 92% and Davao City at 91% ICU utilization rate.

OCTA fellow Guido David told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo that the reproduction number of coronavirus cases in the National Capital Region is now classified as high-risk at 1.15.

ECQ, more vaccines

Meanwhile, Laoag City Mayor Michael Keon said the city had 2,204 total COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, including 759 active cases, 1,411 recoveries, and 34 deaths.

With the rising infections in the city, Keon said that authorities are looking at placing Laoag under a stricter enhanced community quarantine. The area is currently under a relaxed modified ECQ.

“We really have tried not to lock down the whole of Laoag, which we would have to do if we have to declare ECQ. But the situation is so viral now that we might have to do that,” he told CNN Philippines’ News.PH.

“The medical community is very tired and people are beginning to ask us to consider declaring ECQ in order to really stem the tide of COVID here in Laoag,” he said.

Keon added that the city is in need of more vaccines to achieve herd immunity, or vaccinating around 74,000 of the 117,000 residents of Laoag. He pointed out that over 9,000 people in Laoag were only vaccinated so far, of which, 5,332 received their first dose and 4,025 were fully vaccinated.

“It’s been an issue, we have not received as many vaccines as we need. This is why the city government will actually purchase vaccines. We are actually in the process of negotiating with the vaccine manufacturer of Covaxin, which is a vaccine manufactured in India,” he said.

The country logged 5,828 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 1.53 million cases.

The daily positivity rate, or the percentage of people that tested positive, stood at 12% based on 47,869 tests reported on July 20. The rate is within the "high" classification by the data website of the US-based nonprofit Covid Act Now — which is used by the OCTA research team as reference for its recommendations.