Health authorities see early signs of COVID-19 surge, expert says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines May 26) —  Health authorities are seeing early signs of a COVID-19 surge in the country, a medical expert said on Wednesday.

“Over the past month, there have been three instances of reversals of the decreasing growth rates of cases,” Dr. John Wong, member of the Inter-Agency Task Force-Technical Working Group for Data Analytics, said during a briefing.

He noted that while these were not sustained, “we should take these as early warning signals and take the appropriate steps.”

While parts of the country are either low risk or minimal risk for COVID-19, a Department of Health report released on Tuesday showed increase in the seven-day average of Central Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Soccsksargen, Caraga and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Last week, health officials and the OCTA Research group reported that they also observed increase in the COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region, with the latter projecting a “weak surge” as the worst case scenario in the region over the next few weeks.

DOH chief epidemiologist Dr. Alethea de Guzman pointed out that the rise in COVID-19 cases cannot be attributed to the emergence of more transmissible variants alone like the Omicron BA.4 subvariant, especially now that there is more mobility and more people are complacent about health protocols.

But she said the increase is still within acceptable levels. Moreover, less than one person per a hundred thousand population is getting infected daily, and there is still low utilization of health facilities, she added.

Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, a member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, also reminded parents and guardians that getting fully vaccinated is a way to protect children from COVID-19. She also asked parents to have their eligible kids immunized.

Latest government data shows the country has over 3.6 million COVID-19 cases, of which only 2,257 are ill patients.

In terms of inoculation, over 70 million individuals have completed their primary vaccine shots, while over 13 million have received their booster dose.

CNN Philippines' Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.