NCR positivity rate jumps to 17.5%

NCR positivity rate jumps to 17.5%

The weekly positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) reached 17.5 percent, matching the previous peak of the present wave that was reported on Aug. 5, the OCTA Research Group said yesterday.

“It is likely that this current resurgence will see higher positivity rates over the next weeks. It looks like NCR will exceed 2,000 cases per day by the start of October,” OCTA fellow Guido David said.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed NCR reported an average of 1,128 new cases from Sept. 16 to 22, up 28 percent from the average of 881 daily cases reported in the previous week.

According to David, NCR currently has an average daily attack rate of 7.83 daily new infections per 100,000 people – considered “moderate” – while the reproduction number rose from 1.19 on Sept. 12 to 1.26 on Sept. 19.

Despite the increases in various indicators, David said hospital bed and intensive care unit utilization remained low at 38 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

David earlier warned that the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the NCR may result in similar increases in nearby provinces, which the DOH attributed to increased mobility following the opening of face-to-face classes.

Experts have yet to determine the impact of allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas.

Continued coverage

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) announced that there will be continuing coverage of COVID-19 tests for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in accordance with IATF Resolution No. 168, Series of 2022.

PhilHealth Advisory 2022-0026 released Sept. 8, 2022 noted that the PhilHealth board approved the benefit in acknowledgment of the role of OFWs.

The advisory also said that specific guidelines would be released soon through a circular, with retroactive effect to Aug. 31, 2022.

Earlier, PhilHealth published Circular 2022-0018 aligning its COVID-19 testing coverage with DOH Memorandum No. 2022-013 or the “Updated Guidelines on Quarantine, Isolation and Testing for COVID-19 Response and Case Management for the Omicron Variant.”

Consequently, PhilHealth will pay for RT-PCR tests (either plate-based and cartridge-based) of the following priority groups: A1 (health care workers), A2 (senior citizens), A3 (persons with comorbidities and high risk for severe disease) and all with symptoms of COVID-19.

The circular said COVID-19 testing is not recommended for screening asymptomatic individuals and for asymptomatic close contacts. Instead, symptom monitoring is recommended. Should testing be used, it should be done at least five days from the last day of exposure.

PhilHealth covers plate-based RT-PCR test from P800-P2,800 and cartridge-based PCR from P500-P2,450, depending on the services covered. Members and their qualified dependents may avail themselves of COVID-19 testing package at any of the 230 accredited laboratories nationwide.

The state health insurer added that its facility-based rapid antigen test (RAT) package worth P500 is available to symptomatic patients being managed by COVID-19 Home Isolation Benefit Package and COVID-19 Community Isolation Benefit Package providers. Patients admitted in accredited hospitals and infirmaries/ dispensaries may also avail themselves of the RAT package.


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