NCR’s status and the data for 10.26.2021

The numbers are pretty much the same today as yesterday. But the Health Agency poured in their backlogs of previous days to a day where we expected lower cases.

Today, the Department of Health announces 4,393 new cases from 35,265 tests done on October 24 with an 8.5% positivity rate. Which means that in reality, based on the tests, the total new cases should be around 3K, but backlogs most likely accounted for the no significant change in total new cases for the day.

There were 135 new deaths announced today. And that’s pretty high for only 4,393 new cases for the day, as the deaths are really late reports.

In reality, NCR isn’t really doing too well the past days. Cases are slightly up and today, the region owned 25% or one-fourth of the total cases in the country. Mega Manila had almost the combined total of both Central Luzon and CALABARZON.

On a provincial level, Rizal took the lead, followed by Bulacan and Cavite.

And among cities and municipalities, 12 of 17 LGUs in NCR were glaringly in the top twenty LGUs with most cases for today. The other 8 LGUs outside of NCR in the list are: Zamboanga City, Davao City, Lubang, Baguio City, Antipolo, Cainta, Bacolod City and Dumaguete City. In the NCR, the City of Manila had more cases today than the previous days and recorded triple digits at 151 to rank second among LGUs in the country with most cases.

OCTA RESEARCH MONITORING REPORT

While the Health Agency considers NCR still at moderate risk, using the metrics of ADAR (incidence), infection rate (R), Health care and ICU utilization rate, and positivity of tests, compared to smaller regions, provinces and LGUs, metrics would show how fairly well 14 of 17 LGUs are fairing much better this past week than the previous. Only Mandaluyong, San Juan and Valenzuela have ADAR that would still be considered as High Risk. In general, the reproduction rate of most of the LGUs are below 0.5, except for Manila, Pasay, Parañaque, Pasig, Mandaluyong and Valenzuela. Over-all, however, the Rt of NCR stands at 0.49, driven by the other smaller LGUs with lower R (Navotas, Malabon and Pateros). Only the City of Muntinlupa remains high risk in ICU utilization rate in spite of the low 7-day average of 24 daily cases. That is because this city has very few hospitals that are highly equipped for intensive care capacity. The City of Makati is at moderate risk for ICU rate while the rest of the LGUs have ICU utilizations less than 60%.

The positivity rate of Mega Manila is at 6%. Lower than the cumulative National Average of 13.7% as of October 25, 2021. This means the driving force for under testing are the regions OUTSIDE of NCR especially those that are not as highly urbanized. The under testing is a cause for concern and to reiterate, if you do not test, you cannot trace. If you cannot trace then all these face shields, distancing, crowding and levels of quarantine are useless and baseless.

Areas doing good, doing bad and the data for 10.25.2021

The week starts off with some good news as the Health Agency reports 4,405 new cases, with active cases now down to less that 58,000. There were more than 47,000 tests done last October 23, with a 9% positivity rate.

There are 149 new deaths reported today.

The NCR accounts for almost 20% (1/5) of the national cases. And while some analysts may say that this is a low number, this is actually moderate risk because the vaccination rate in the NCR is the highest in any region in the country. Based on eligible adult population, the IATF pegs the fully vaccinated rate to be around 80%.

The other problem in the daily numbers is that the cases in the other regions are largely an undercount of the actual cases in the areas. There are more patients not tested than those tested and contact tracing is most likely very low in the far flung areas or in LGUs with minimal resources.

The lowest cases in the top twenty LGUs with most cases is now 30. Which means that on the average, if an LGU records more than 40 cases for the day, it is most likely among the top 20 LGUs with most cases in the whole nation.

After NCR is Cagayan Valley which has more than 500 cases.

Many provinces in Northern Luzon were in the top ten, with Isabela province remaining in first spot. The other provinces from the north in the top ten are: Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan, and Pangasinan.

Among LGUs, 12 of 17 LGUs in the top twenty list are from NCR. In the top 10, however, are 5 LGUs outside of Mega Manila. They are: Zamboanga City, Baguio City, Davao City, Bacolod City, and Dumaguete.

OCTA RESEARCH MONITORING REPORT

While the Health Agency declared the country at ‘low risk’ due to the declining cases, it has kept some areas under the category of ‘moderate risk’, including the National Capital Region.

Today’s report features a situation on fourteen other LGUs in the country with updated information on how they are doing in the control of COVID-19 in their locality. These are areas outside of the National Capital Region.

Notice that of the 14, of concern is Lubang in Mindoro Occidental, a small municipality of 20,000 people with an increase of cases by 580% for an ADAR of 170/1000,000 population in that LGU. Its Rt is up at 3.61 and a positivity rate of 42%. Dumaguete, remains in critical risk due to the high utilization for hospitalization and Intensive Care Units as well as positivity rate. The ADAR is at 19.85/100,000.

In high risk are Zamboanga City, Bacolod City, Tagum (Davao del Norte), Santiago (Isabela), and Bayombong (Nueva Vizcaya). Notice how high the positivity rates are in these places.

While Baguio City, Tuguegarao, Naga City and Cainta (Rizal) are at moderate risk, only Cainta has testing at 10%. The other three LGUs are doing badly at testing with rates as high as 56% for Tuguegarao, 42% for Naga City and 34% for Baguio City (where ironically is home to the tracing czar for the COVID-19 response in the country).

Davao City, Antipolo and Iloilo City are now low risk.

The better past week and the data for 10.24.2021

The Health Agency reports another 5K plus cases for the third consecutive day. Today, however, was at the lower spectrum of the predicted 5-6 range for the weekend with 5,279 new cases.

With more recoveries than cases, the active cases are a little above 60,000.

There were close to 53,000 tests done last October 22, with a 10.3% positivity rate.

There are 208 new deaths announced today. This brings the case fatality rate for outcomes to 1.55%. The gap between the case fatality rate of 1.52% by the Department of Health has narrowed (vs. the case fatality rate for outcomes using outcomes – recoveries and deaths as denominator instead of total cases) because the number of active cases have decreased.

ICU utilization rate in the National Capital Region is lower at 46% and overall hospitalization is less than 40%. ICU utilization rate nationally is at 53% as some regions are still struggling with higher cases compared to their health capacity. Hopefully, the tide turns around the last week of October.

NCR accounted for 19% of today’s total cases with 1,010 new cases. Its third straight day also of recording four digits. Cagayan Valley is in second spot, while Central Luzon in third. Except for BARMM and Eastern Visayas, all regions recorded triple digit cases.

On a provincial level, Isabela continued to lead. Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya and Cagayan are the provinces in Northern Luzon that are among the top 10 with most cases.

Among cities/municipalities, 11 of 17 LGUs in the top 20 list are from Mega Manila. In the top ten were five LGUs from NCR while the other five were outside of NCR. LGUs outside of Mega Manila in the top ten today are: Zamboanga City, Davao City, Lubang Island, Bacolod City and Baguio City.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The week saw continuing decline of cases in the Philippines from a 8,000 the previous week to 5,500 daily 7-day moving average. Notice the steep decline in cases after peaking in August/September. We are close to the pre-surge levels of May 2021 and hopefully can bring this down to the same levels as December of 2020, by December this this.

The 7-day death average is, however, relatively high at 145 relative to the large drop in cases.

Testing has declined as well, but notice that while the average tests are down to 50,000+, the positivity rate has also significantly dropped to 12.4%.

Among select Asian countries, the Philippines slipped to third place with a 7-day average down to 5,700 as of October 22. Enviably are Indonesia and Japan that are enjoying all time lows with triple digits. Indonesia recorded a 7-day average of around 800 daily cases, while Japan is below the 500 mark.

However, one must take into consideration the cases and deaths in relation to the POPULATION SIZE of the country. When this is factored in, Singapore, a country of less than 6M and is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases in the tiny country in the equator is seeing the highest number of cases per capita (per million population). It has close to 600 cases/M while Indonesia, a country with close to 275M people has around 3 cases/M!

In terms of deaths, Malaysia and Singapore lead in deaths per capita, while the Philippines is in third spot. Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan have lower deaths per million population (<1/M) from COVID-19.

The reproduction number is declining in all countries in the region, except for Japan and Indonesia that saw a slight upward bump but are still way below the 1.0. Only Singapore has an effective rate >1.0 (1.10). The Philippines has a Rt ~ 0.7 (+/-0.05) as of October 18, 2021.

Another 5K plus day and the data for 10.23.2021

It seems that the weekend is on track for seeing cases between 5-6K, as estimated, where the 7-day average by end of the month of October should have dropped to around 5,000.

With 5,807 new cases announced by the Health Agency today, the Philippines has a 7-day average of around 5,700/day. Total tests done on October 21 was 58,834 with a positivity rate of 10.3%. ICU utilization in the NCR remains at less than 50%, but depending on the LGU, this will vary and remains highest in Muntinlupa City.

Total deaths announced today was 65.

While the country enjoyed a tad bit lower cases today, it was the NCR that pulled in a surprise with 21% or more than 1/5 of the total share of today’s total. CALABARZON came in second with half the total of NCR’s numbers. The other regions saw a slight drop in cases.

Isabela Province topped the provincial level, but two other provinces in the north of Luzon – Pangasinan and Cagayan – were in the top ten.

The telling story are the cases in the LGU level where 12 of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top 20 list. When most of the LGUs in NCR are part of the top twenty, on a day when the over-all total cases are slightly lower, you know that NCR will account for a higher share than the rest. Zamboanga City, Bacolod City, Davao City and Tuguegarao were among the top 10.

Between 5-6K this weekend and the data for 10.22.2021

As the day drew to a close for the week, the Health Agency reports 5,823 new cases today.

There were 58,273 tests done on October 20 with a positivity rate of 11.6%.

It announced 283 new deaths today.

ICU utilization rate in NCR is now below 50% with hospitalization rates averaging 40%.

OCTA RESEARCH MONITORING REPORT

To show how much improved the situation is in the National Capital Region (Mega Manila), today’s monitoring report shows the significant decline in the 7-day average for COVID-19 cases. The positivity rate of the national capital is down at 8% versus the national average of 10-12%. Utilizing the indicators of incidence rate, Rt (infection), Health care and ICU utilization rate, there has been a 43% decline of cases since the past week. ADAR is also down to moderate at 7.40/100,000 population, while the R is at a low of 0.46 (below 0.5). We will need to sustain this reproduction number and keep it below 0.5 for the whole of October to the end of November in order to see an unprecedented low of cases in the capital. Only Caloocan, City of Manila, and Mandaluyong have Rt > 0.5 for now, but this should be manageable in the next few weeks. It is also important that ALL the LGUs do not digress from the current trend. If one LGU digresses from the current declining cases, this will affect all the other LGUs in the next few weeks. ICU utilization is highest in Muntinlupa and Makati, while moderate in Quezon City.

The NCR saw a four digit record today with 1,031 new cases, but this was expected because the region accounts for around 17-22% of the total daily cases. Except for Eastern Visayas and BARMM, all other regions continued to report triple digits, with Cagayan Valley still reporting a high of 849 cases.

On a provincial level, three provinces in Cagayan Valley are among the top ten provinces with most cases for the day. They are: Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Cagayan. Another province in North Luzon joined the top ten – La Union.

Among cities and municipalities, 8 of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top twenty most cases for today. It was Quezon City and Parañaque City that led the haul. However, it is disturbing that many municipalities were in the top twenty list, mostly from Northern Luzon. Places like Solano, San Manuel, Tadian, Flora, and Bagabag should be monitored closely.

4806 cases but 260 deaths and the data for 10.21.2021

The Health Agency reports 4,806 new cases today. But that’s not surprising (considering were were coming from 3,600 plus cases on the low Wednesday). With more than 52,000 tests and a positivity rate of 10.9% for October 19, 2021, the lower positivity rate is encouraging. However, we really need to be testing more cases (and contact trace) in order to achieve a positivity rate below 5%. On a provincial level, some provinces like Cebu and Cavite have positivity rates at 6%, lower than the national average.

The deaths, however, climbed higher today with the system reporting 260 new deaths, pushing the total deaths past the 41,000 mark.

Hospital utilization and ICU utilization rates are down in the NCR in general.

Cagayan Valley topped the regions for the first time since the start of this surge and the pandemic as a whole with almost 1,000 cases for today. This was followed by NCR with 842 cases and accounting for 17.5% of the total cases in the country. While several regions saw lower cases today, regions in Northern Luzon continued to report higher cases in general (although is seeing a general decrease in percentage per region).

On a provincial level, Isabela topped today’s count. In the top ten provinces with most cases were: Benguet, Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and Pangasinan. All provinces in the north.

On a city/municipality level, Quezon City took back the lead and NCR had 6 of 17 LGUs in the top 20 list. Six LGUs in Isabela alone made it to the list – Ramon, City of Cauayan, Roxas, Jones, Aurora and City of Santiago.

Trending <4K, the risk levels for NCR+8 and the data for 10.20.2021

It was excellent news today as the Health Agency reported lower cases since July 13, 2021 when there were 3,595 cases for the day. It’s actually one of the lowest numbers we’ve had since the March/April surge and the July/August surge. The lowest cases for the March/April surge was seen on May 23 with 3,004 cases. The following day, we never looked back at cases lower than this number. Again.

Today, the Department of Health reports 3,656 new cases with 42,296 tests done last October 18 for a positivity rate of 11.6%. Today’s report have some backlogs which will come in, in the subsequent days.

But we will take this as good news. Notice how even the ICU utilization is less than 60% nationally.

Only 5 deaths were reported today.

The current risk levels used by OCTA Research integrates four parameters: Incidence rate (ADAR), Reproduction number (Rt), Health care and ICU utilization rates, and Positivity for tests. As indicated in the previous blogs, these have been graded based on international standards for critical, high, moderate and low risk values.

The risk levels in NCR plus eight (Cebu City, Davao City, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga and Rizal) are shown in the table below. Incidence rate is < 10 in all these areas, which puts them all at low risk. Reproduction number is also down to 0.52 in NCR, and is highest in Rizal (among the 9 high risk areas) at 0.55. ICU utilization rate is still >60% for Davao City, Batangas and Rizal, while the positivity rate is < 10% for Cebu City, Cavite and NCR.

NCR accounted for a higher share (17.5%) of today’s total COVID-19 count (compared to previous days <17%). The shift in ranks saw Central Luzon in second, while CALABARZON moves down to fourth. Cagayan Valley, Zamboanga Peninsula and CAR, while seeing relatively lower cases still cornered higher proportions of the total cases in the country today.

Zamboanga del Sur continued to top the provinces, with Cagayan, Isabela and Benguet in 2nd – 4th ranks.

For the third straight day, Zamboanga City earned the distinction to have been the only city that has overtaken Quezon City for consecutive days. Ten of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top twenty cities/municipalities with most cases.

Baguio City, Bacolod City, Davao City, and Tuguegarao were the other LGUs that were in the top 10 list.

Below 5K and the data for 10.19.2021

As mentioned in the previous days, after a round of cases in the 7K level, we should be tracking between 5-6K this week.

And because today is a Tuesday, we expect lower numbers.

The Health Agency announced 4,496 new cases with a low 35,766 tests done on October 17 but equally low positivity rate of 12.4%.

The active cases and ICU utilization is also trending lower today.

The bad news is that the new deaths announced is at 211.

The wonderful surprise of the day is NCR, which in the longest time had to see triple digits, recorded 741 new cases today. That’s a low of 16.4% (range was 17.5%-22.5% in the previous weeks). Nevertheless, it was still the regions in Northern Luzon that continued to see high cases, as well as the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Negros Oriental led the provinces on a provincial level, while 4 provinces in Northern Luzon were among the top ten provinces with most cases – Benguet, Cagayan, Isabela and Pangasinan.

For the second straight day, Zamboanga City led among cities/municipalities with most cases today. In spite of the lower cases in NCR, 10 of 17 LGUs in NCR made it to the top twenty list. This time, however, six of the top 10 LGUs were all outside of Mega Manila. Aside from top leader Zamboanga City, the others were: Baguio City, Tagum (Davao del Norte), Iloilo City, Saguday (Quirino Province), and Bacolod City.

The second day of 6k plus cases and the data for 10.18.2021

It’s the second day that the cases are below the 7K mark. But that’s not the good news. The good news is that with the current numbers being reported, we may not see five digit cases for awhile (fingers crossed), unless some other odd variant pops up from nowhere.

The Health Agency today reports 6,943 new cases, but a slightly higher positivity rate of 13.3% based on 54,150 tests done last October 16. With more recoveries than cases, the active cases now drop to 68,832.

There ware 86 new deaths reported today.

The NCR reported a tad more cases today than yesterday with 1,165 (16.8%) of the total. While many regions are seeing lower cases, there are a few that are seeing noticeable spikes, especially Zamboanga Peninsula.

The regional data is reflected in the provincial data where one case see that the cases are mostly seen in Zamboanga del Sur, which made it to the top spot today.

Again on the LGU level, Zamboanga City topped the cities/municipalities with most cases. Eight of 17 LGUs in NCR are in the top 20 list. Which means that the majority of the LGUs in the top 20 are now from outside Mega Manila.

Less than 7K, the week in review and the data for 10.17.2021

Today saw a little less than 7K cases with the Health Agency announcing 6,913 new cases.

There were 53,669 tests for a 12.5% positivity for October 15, 2021. This is the lowest positivity we have had since the week of July 18, where the 7-day positivity rate was 12.1%.

The HCUR is even lower now as ICU utilization rate is reportedly at 59% in the NCR and 62% nationally.

The DoH reports 95 new deaths today.

NCR is doing well, with Rt at 0.59 (+/- 0.05). And the cases today accounted for lower than the 17.5-22.5% range of the total. Today, it was at 16.8% with 1,159 cases. Notice, however, that the cases are still up Northern Luzon (CAR, CagayanValley and Ilocos Region). In short, more than 83% of the cases today are outside of the NCR.

It was Negros Oriental that topped the provincial list today with 376 cases, followed by Isabela, Benguet, Negros Occidental and Pangasinan.

Nine of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top twenty cities/municipalities, led by erstwhile leader Quezon City. Five cities outside of NCR were in the top ten, led by Baguio City. Others in the top ten were: Zamboanga City, Bacolod City, San Fernando (La Union), and Davao City.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

It was a good week for the Philippines. Not the best as we could do better. But not a bad one either, as the country saw 4 digits the whole week, with the last 4 days seeing 7,000 plus cases. The 7-day average last week was around 8,900/day. The very slow dip in the reproduction number is responsible for the gradual decline. However, other individual regions or provinces or cities/municipalities are seeing a faster decline in cases than the rest. The death reports have been very erratic due to the glitches in the COVIDKaya system of the DICT and Health Agency.

While we are seeing a dip in cases, the average tests done in the country have significantly declined as well. From previous highs of 70,000 daily tests (which was still considerably low due), the positivity rate had decreased significantly and plateaued at a 7 day average of 19%.

Total new daily confirmed COVID-19 cases in select Asian countries have noticeably declined, except for Singapore which is still seeing an average of more than 3,000 daily cases. Thailand remains in the five digit category, but has seen its reproduction number dip to < 1.0 and should be touching 4 digit numbers the coming weeks.

Only Singapore still has a reproduction number > 1.0 but is seeing a plateau in the number of cases at the 3000 plus mark. All the other select Asian nations are seeing Rt <1.0, with Japan doing the best job of sustaining a Rt of < 0.5 for the past month. This is why the five digit cases of Japan are now in the 3 digits. If the Philippines can sustain a Rt < 0.5 for 1 whole month, our COVID-19 cases will remarkably drop. And that should be the goal, even while the economy is revving and raving to open. We MUST NOT lose focus on that goal.

Will we breach the 5,000/day 7-day average before the end of the month? That should be the goal for next week.