17,220 new Covid cases hike PH positivity rate to 36.9%; Cebu hits 9.16% positivity

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THE Philippines’ tally of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases continued to grow with 17,220 more infections reported by the Department of Health (DOH) nationwide on Thursday, January 6, 2022, and the positivity rate also rapidly rising to 36.9 percent from 31.7 percent the day before.

In Cebu City, Covid-19 cases are also on the rise with the city breaching, two days in a row, the five percent positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization for an area to be considered low risk for Covid-19 transmission.

The positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who test positive out of the number of people tested during a certain period.

The country’s 17,220 new cases, the highest since September 27 when 18,449 infections were tallied, brought the country’s total caseload to 2,888,917.

Of the confirmed cases, 56,561 are active cases, the highest since October 25 when 57,763 active cases were reported.

Cebu City

In Cebu City, the daily positivity rate (DPR) for Covid-19 has exceeded five percent after the rapid increase in infections in the new year.

On Wednesday, Jan. 5, Cebu City saw its positivity rate hit 6.42 percent after 39 of 604 individuals who took an RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test tested positive.

This was followed on Thursday, Jan. 6, by the 9.16 percent DPR recorded by the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) after 58 of 633 individuals tested came out positive for Covid-19 as well, EOC deputy chief implementer Joel Garganera revealed Thursday.

The last time Cebu City breached five percent positivity was on Oct. 12, 2021 when the DPR was 5.24 percent, the EOC said.

The number of active cases in the city has now shot up to 140, from just eight at the start of the week Sunday, Jan. 2.

Garganera cited Typhoon Odette (Rai), which hit Cebu last Dec. 16, and the fires that occurred recently as the causes of the increase in the number of active Covid-19 cases in the city.

The twin tragedies, he said, resulted in the gathering of a large number of people—such as in evacuation centers and long lines for water, fuel, ice, money at automated teller machines, and other basic necessities—who no longer followed the minimum health protocol.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 467,890 people in Cebu City have undergone testing for Covid-19, of whom 41,621 tested positive.

A total of 40,012 persons in Cebu City have recovered from the disease, while 1,527 individuals have lost their lives.

Forecast

Octa Research fellow Dr. Guido David said Thursday that on Friday, January 7, the country might register over 20,000 new infections.

“Tomorrow (January 7), the country is likely to exceed 20K new cases,” Dr. Guido David, Octa Research fellow, posted on his Twitter account Thursday.

He also said the positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) had increased further to 45 percent as of January 4.

David warned that the surge of Covid-19 cases in the country had not peaked yet.

On Wednesday, the DOH reported 10,775 new cases, which was nearly double Tuesday’s tally of 5,434 new infections.

The increase in Covid-19 cases comes as the DOH reported on Thursday 29 additional Omicron variant cases, of which 19 are local cases.

Experts have said the Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 is the most transmissible strain of the virus that causes Covid-19.

Alert Level 3

On Wednesday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases escalated the alert level in Laguna from 2 to 3 due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the province.

In Resolution 155-B signed by DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on January 5, 2022, the IATF said Laguna will be under Alert Level 3 from January 7 to 15, 2022.

Laguna, which is part of Calabarzon in Luzon, logged 314 new Covid-19 cases last January 5, more than double than the 141 infections reported on January 4.

Aside from Laguna, also under Alert Level 3 until January 15 are the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal, where a spike in Covid-19 cases has been reported. (PAC / CTL, LMY / SunStar Philippines)

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