DOH: NATIONAL CASES MAY CONTINUE TO DECLINE DEPENDING ON THE STRICT IMPLEMENTATION OF RESTRICTIONS AND COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH PROTOCOLS

Press Release | 06 November 2021

The Department of Health (DOH) reported further improvement of COVID-19 cases as numbers may continuously decline based on the latest projections of the sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics (sTWG on DA) and FASSSTER (Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-temporal Epidemiological Modeler for Early Detection of Diseases).

Several assumptions were made in generating the projections. Variables such as the presence of the Delta variant, vaccination coverage, mobility, compliance to minimum public health standards (MPHS), and health system capacity (HSC) were considered. In these projections, it was assumed that the Delta Variant is now the dominant variant in most regions.

For the national projection, vaccination rate was assumed to be either maintained at the current rate versus an increased rate of vaccination. For the projection made for NCR, it was assumed that 90% of the target population will be fully vaccinated by the end of the year.  For all of the projections, data from retail and recreation mobility was used. The current seven-day average mobility for the Philippines was at 82% of the pre-pandemic level. For NCR, the current seven-day average mobility was at 68.5%. For the health system capacity (HSC), duration between symptom onset and isolation was used as a proxy. For the Philippines, the current HSC was 5.5 days while NCR was at 6.6 days and an assumption was made that HSC may increase to 7 to 8 days. The projections also included scenarios that assumed possible declines in our level of adherence to MPHS.

For the projections at the national level, in scenarios where the current mobility and compliance to MPHS were maintained regardless of vaccination rate and HSC, active cases continued to decline and may range from 5,744 to 6,089 active cases by end of November, and 2,113 to 2,586 by December 15. However, an uptrend of active cases was observed in scenarios where there is increased mobility from 82% to 91% and a corresponding decrease in the compliance to MPHS by 26%. In these scenarios, active cases may reach up to 25,305 to 29,811 by the end of November and 33,891 to 52,393 by mid-December. The estimated active cases in these scenarios were 4 to 5 times higher by the end of November and 16 to 20 times higher by December 15 when compared to the scenarios where the compliance to MPHS was maintained.

A similar observation was made with the NCR projections. Projected active cases for NCR will continue to decline and may be at 2,096 to 2,165 cases as of November 30 and 1,035 to 1,173 as of December 15 when current mobility and MPHS compliance are maintained regardless of HSC. If mobility increases to 90% to 95% coupled with MPHS compliance reduction by 30% to 33%, active cases may reach up to 3,259 to 3,600 cases by the end of November and 2,692 to 3,535 cases by Mid-December.

It was noted that the highest projected active cases were achieved when increased mobility was accompanied by reduction of MPHS compliance and longer detection to isolation intervals, for both national and NCR projections.

“In the upcoming Christmas season, we expect people to go out more; hence an increase in mobility is expected. It is very important that while our mobility increases, we should continue to strictly adhere to our minimum public health standards. We must also improve on the immediate detection of cases through early consultation, active case finding, and contact tracing and ensure that identified cases and close contact are immediately isolated or quarantined,” said DOH Spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

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