THE daily new cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Cebu City have seen a decrease in the past four days.

But it is too early to tell if the numbers are showing any good sign, according to City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Cebu City.

The development comes after the top health official of the country also downgraded Monday the Philippines’ Covid-19 risk classification from “critical” to “high risk” following the decline in the two-week growth rate.

On Monday, Jan. 24, Cebu City had 302 new cases, bringing its active cases to 6,973 in 78 of its 80 barangays.

“There’s nothing really to feel complacent or happy about because if we look at the average daily attack rate (Adar), ideally, it should be between 1-7 per 100,000 population. And today, with 302 fresh cases, we have 30 cases per 100,000,” Garganera said on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022.

Adar refers to the average number of new cases within a certain period per 100,000 individuals.

Cebu City’s EOC reported that after the city hit a record-high 1,126 new cases on Jan. 20, which brought active cases to 5,608, new daily cases have been falling since to: 902 new cases and 6,292 active cases on Jan. 21; 818 new cases and 6,859 active cases on Jan. 22; and 573 new cases and 7,370 active cases on Jan. 23.

Cebu City’s daily positivity rate (DPR) stood at 41.60 percent, from 726 individuals tested on Jan. 24.

This is down from the city’s DPR of 51.07 percent on Jan. 23 and from the DPR of 56.62 percent on Jan. 21.

“Positivity rate is at 41 percent today, but the WHO threshold is five percent. So layo pa kaayo ta sa tinuod. Daghan pa kaayo ta og trabahoon (We are far from accomplishing anything. We still have a lot of work to do),” Garganera said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says having a positivity rate of less than five percent for the last two weeks is one of the indicators that the epidemic is controlled. The positivity rate, or percent positive, is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that come out positive.

Cebu City reported 442 recoveries on Jan. 24, the first time this month that the recoveries outnumbered the fresh cases, Garganera said.

The city also reported one new death on Jan. 24, bringing the number of mortalities this month to 27.

Down to ‘high risk’

Also on Monday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Philippines’ Covid-19 risk classification had been downgraded from “critical” to “high risk” following the decline of the two-week growth rate.

Duque said the two-week growth rate dropped to 176 percent, which has been considered moderate risk.

But he said the average daily attack rate (Adar) remains high at 25.46 per 100,000 individuals.

“The Adar is still high because it is beyond the (ideal) seven average daily cases per 100,000 population. So it’s still under high risk classification. But this has gone down from critical risk (classification),” he said in his report during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People Address on Monday evening, Jan. 24.

He said the national average daily reported cases went down by 18 percent from 34,860 on Jan. 11 to 17 to 28,642 from Jan. 18 to 24.

Duque said Metro Manila was also downgraded from critical risk to high risk classification following a drop of its two-week growth rate from 7,225 percent to 65 percent.

He said the region’s Adar, however, further increased from 51 to 84.56 per 100,000.

He said if these numbers further decrease in the coming days, the quarantine status in Metro Manila can already be deescalated to Alert Level 2 from 3.

Duque said the Covid-19 surge in Metro Manila Plus areas, which include the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite, reached its peak between Jan. 14 and 15 and is now continuously on a downtrend.

“We are also seeing that cases in the rest of Luzon are beginning to plateau. Hopefully, this will also decrease in the coming days,” he said.

But not VisMin

But he said cases in the Visayas and Mindano were increasing.

Duque said the Bicol Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Western Visayas, Davao Region, Cagayan Valley, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Ilocos Region, Caraga, Central and Eastern Visayas, Calabarzon and Central Luzon remain under critical risk classification for Covid-19.

He said the two-week growth rate and Adar in these areas were further increasing.

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded a total of 24,938 fresh Covid-19 cases on Monday, Jan. 24, bringing the total number of active cases to 262,997.

Following Metro Manila with the most number of new Covid-19 cases were Calabarzon with 3,469 cases and Central Visayas.

Among the highly urbanized cities, Davao City recorded the highest new cases at 1,759.

In terms of healthcare utilization, Duque said the Philippines is at moderate risk, with 52.1 percent utilization and 51.15 intensive care unit occupancy.

Metro Manila’s health care utilization is at low risk after hospitals in the region further expanded their facilities.

Duque said of the 13,959 confirmed Covid-19 admissions as of Jan. 23, nine percent or 1,324 were severe cases and four percent or 533 were critical.

He said majority of the cases were mild, which no longer needs hospitalization.

Duque said this was proof that vaccination really has helped protect patients from severe infection because while the cases are increasing, the number of severe and critical cases is low.

As of Jan. 24, a total of 123,365,808 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the country.

A total of 57,268,257 individuals have received full doses, while 59,799,215 got their first dose.

Over six million persons also got their booster doses. (KAL, TPM / SunStar Philippines)