OCTA: Cebu City still experiencing post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 18) - Cebu City has failed to mitigate its post-holiday surge of daily COVID-19 cases, the OCTA Research Team said in its weekly report published on Wednesday.

"The post-holiday surge in Cebu City has now lasted more than one month, resulting in an increase to more than 200 new COVID-19 cases per day," the group said.

The OCTA Research Team's data showed Cebu City averaged a total of 202 cases per day from February 10-16 with a positivity rate of 13%, way above the 5% limit recommended by the World Health Organization. The city also has a 1.6 reproduction number rate, which refers to the average number of people that can be infected by a person in a susceptible population.

The current trend of increasing COVID-19 cases in Cebu City, which has been topping the OCTA tally for most daily cases for three weeks, is far from its previous average of seven infections per day in early December before the holidays. The researchers also noted the city's good pandemic management months before the present surge of cases.

Nearby cities Mandaue, Talisay, and Lapu-Lapu are also experiencing surge in COVID-19 cases.

Data shows Mandaue City had an average of 35 infections per day last week, but its positivity rate increased to 18% with an attack rate of 7.48. Lapu-Lapu City recorded 37 cases per day at the same timeframe, with increased positivity rate at 11% and hospital occupancy rate at 71%. Talisay City had 21 cases per day last week, with a high positivity rate of 13% and hospital occupancy rate at 83%.

OCTA researchers also saw a two-week rise in COVID-19 cases in Tabuk, Kalinga and Cagayan de Oro City. On the contrary, Baguio City is experiencing a continuing decrease in cases that are now down to 22 per day.

In Metro Manila, Navotas is the only local government unit which tallied an increase in daily infections last week. The region's reproduction number remained flat at 1 and a positivity rate of 4%.

"Navotas had the most noticeable increase, to 20 new COVID-19 cases per day over the current week, from 3 over the previous week. While this increase was not expected, it remains to be seen if this is simply due to a local clustering of cases," the OCTA report stated.

OCTA researchers also warned that relaxing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila will lead to a surge of up to 2,400 new cases per day by March 26, equaling its daily tally when the region was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine on August 2020.

"If restrictions are relaxed today, and if a surge happens, how long will it take before the situation becomes unmanageable?" the team said.

The OCTA Research Team reiterated its appeal to the national government on Tuesday to reject the National Economic and Development Authority's proposal to place the entire country under the most relaxed form of community quarantine by March 1.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines now has a total of 553,424 confirmed COVID-19 cases, where 29,814 of which are active cases. Some 11,577 persons died and 512,033 patients recovered from the coronavirus. CTA: Cebu City still experiencing post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases