DOH UPDATES DATA PRESENTATION, HIGHLIGHTS THREE KEY INDICATORS OF IMPROVING SITUATION

Press Release / 30 May 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) recently reformatted the presentation of the COVID-19 case data to provide a better understanding of both the pandemic and the national response. The new format now differentiates between fresh and late cases.
 
Fresh vs. Late Cases
According to the DOH, “fresh cases” refer to test results came out and were validated by the Epidemiology Bureau in the last three days. “Late cases” are those whose results came out four days ago or more but were just recently confirmed.
 
In today’s Beat COVID-19 Virtual Presser, Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire discussed with public health epidemiologist Dr. Troy Gepte what numbers are important to watch out for in the new format, so the public would have a better understanding of the government’s response to the pandemic.
 
Singh-Vergeire noted that the increase in cases reported over the last week was a result of the aggressive efforts to catch up with the backlog.
 
“Hindi po lahat ng 539 cases na iyan ay “fresh” o bagong kaso. Out of these 539 cases noong May 28, 109 lamang po ang fresh cases, na nagkaroon ng resulta sa nakaraang tatlong araw,” said Vergeire.
 
“Ang balanse naman po na mahigit 400+ ay mga late cases, o mga kaso na ang mga resulta ay lumabas na noong nakaraan pang linggo pero dahil noong isang araw lang na-submit ng mga laboratoryo ang resulta, kaya tsaka lang po sila na navalidate ng ating Epidemiology Bureau,” she added.
 
 
Deaths, Case Doubling Time, Critical Care Utilization Rate
Outside of the number of confirmed cases, Vergeire and Gepte explained that there are three other indicators that provide a clearer picture of the Philippine COVID-19 situation: deaths, case doubling time, and critical care utilization rate.
 
Mortality due to COVID-19 has been on the decline since late March, assuring the DOH that the healthcare sector’s treatment of the illness has been progressively improving.
 
“Ang mga kaso ng namatay ayon sa date of death, not the date of reporting, ay bumababa na,” said Singh-Vergeire. “Magandang balita po ang patuloy na pagbababa ng deaths. Ayon sa mga pag-aaral, pag ang bilang ng namatay ay tuloy tuloy na bumababa, ito ay magandang senyales na ang epidemic ay nag-peak na.”
 
Case doubling time, or the time it takes for the number of cases to increase twofold, provides policy makers an idea of whether or not the transmission of the virus is slowing down.
 
“Ang ating case doubling time naman po sa kasalukuyan ay nasa 6.29 days na para sa Metro Manila, kumpara sa makalipas na buwan na mga 3-4 days pa ito,” said Singh-Vergeire. “Ibig sabihin, ang panahon na aabutin para mag-doble ang positibong cases natin ay tumatagal na ng halos isang linggo.”
 
The critical care utilization rate is a figure that indicates the capacity of the healthcare system to handle severe cases, as seen in how much of the intensive care facilities is currently used, and how much is available for use.
 
“Ang critical care utilization rate naman natin para sa ICU beds ay nasa 34%, at 18% naman para sa mechanical ventilators. Isa rin pong magandang indikasyon ito dahil ibig sabihin hindi natin nasasagad ang mga gamit natin ng ICU beds at ventilators at ibig sabihin din ay hindi natin nao-overwhelm ang ating health system,” said Singh-Vergeire.
 
Continued Following of Health Guidelines
With the transition of many areas into GCQ beginning June 1, Singh-Vergeire emphasized the importance of following the health guidelines to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
 
“Kahit nasa GCQ na tayo, hindi ito ibig sabihin na relax na rin tayo sa mga protocols natin,” said Singh-Vergeire.“Sa Lunes, pagpasok ng mga may trabaho, paglabas ng bahay, huwag po kalimutang magsuot ng mask, dumistansya ng isang metro sa mga katabi, magbaon ng alcohol para sa mga kamay,” she added.
 
“Tandaan po natin. Hindi po natin ito ginagawa para lamang sa ating sarili. Para rin po ito sa kaligtasan ng ating mga anak, magulang, at mga mahal sa buhay.”