The numbers are ‘artificially low’ and the data for 02.09.2022

The Health Agency continued to report lower numbers, today at 3651 new cases based on 29970 tests (very low) with 16.5% positivity rate (high) last February 7. This is disturbing data because the positivity rate remains high – which means that with omicron being mild or mostly asymptomatic (as seen in the status of over 96000 active cases) – many are NOT testing anymore.

This scenario is mostly seen in community settings and I am willing to bet that 1 in 5 patients who need to get hospitalized and are swabbed at the point of care, will most likely turn up positive. Remember, all these cases which the DoH announce are based only on RT-PCR positive results.

There are 69 additional deaths – 25 occurring in February, 36 in January and the remaining were May to October 2021.

It’s always a good thing to see the lower numbers. Unlike previous surges, many patients are not testing anymore. Which makes this a more challenging surge because we’re relying on data of the Health Agency – those that had RT-PCR done.

This statement comes based on the OCTA Research Monitoring data [through the effort of Prof. Guido David] on the risk levels for Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs) as of February 8. While there is an overall downtrend of cases, this decline may not be accurately reflecting the exact number of people with COVID19. Baguio City still has a very high ADAR (average daily attack rate) and a positivity higher than the national average. Notice that ALL these HUCs, except for Lucena City has a positivity at high, very high or severe. For example, Puerto Princesa’s growth, while on a decline has a Rt of 1.37. This is being greatly affected by the positivity rate of 100%. Everyone who tests there is positive.

The same growth (or decline) trend is seen in the Visayas region. Compared to the HUCs in Luzon, more testing is done in the Visayas as noted in their positivity. Iloilo City remains at high risk with the highest ADAR in the HUC in the region, a HCUR that is at 65% and a positivity of 26%. Bacolod City and Ormoc’s positivity is more than 40% (or 2 in 5 that get tested are positive).

Because the data does not provide us with enough comfort zone as to the real condition of the omicron surge, it is best that we gauge moving to Alert Level 1 with caution, and use the positivity and HCUR as a benchmark for deciding on whether we should move from Alert Level 2 to 1. It is a given that ADAR and Rt will depend on the daily report of the health agency.

In areas where the positivity is <10% AND HCUR that is at low risk, then moving to Alert Level 1 may be made with caution.

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