DOH cites steady increase in Delta variant cases

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

August 31, 2021, 12:58 pm

MANILA – A health official on Tuesday said cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus showed steady increase since its detection in July, replacing the Alpha and Beta variants as the most common lineage detected in each sequencing run.

In an online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this coincides with the start of a steeper rise in the number of cases in July similar in April during the start of peak in cases with the spread of the Alpha and Beta variants.

On Sunday, health authorities detected 516 additional Delta variant cases, pushing the total tally to 1,789.

"Steep increase in new cases is seen in the recent week. New peak continues to rise," Vergeire said.

The average daily reported Covid-19 cases for the week of Aug. 24 to 30 is 17,013 cases, higher than the week of Aug. 17 to 23 at 14,886.

"If the same pattern continues, we might see cases peak mid September. However, these figures will greatly depend on further improvement on compliance to minimum public health standards, shortening the interval between detection and isolation, faster vaccine deployment and the granular lockdowns that we are all doing right now," Vergeire said.

A 20 percent increase in the samples being tested in the recent sequencing versus the first week of August was also observed. From an average of just 56,179 tests per day, the country now averages 67,692 cases per day.

The ramping up of active case finding and contact tracing contributed to the increased testing and detection of additional confirmed cases.

The current increase in cases was observed in all island groups at almost at the same time. However, the NCR Plus areas and the rest of Luzon had faster case increase rate compared to the Visayas and Mindanao.

"This observation was based on the daily attack rates and two week growth rates," Vergeire said. "All regions showed positive growth rate with the highest observed in Caraga at 112 percent and BARMM at 107 percent."

The country is under high risk classification with majority of the regions having moderate to high risk health systems capacity.

The nation's average deaths per day for August is now 114 deaths per day, higher than the fatalities reported in June.

The total number of deaths in August is 3,427.

During the case increase from February to April, the deaths increased by 100 percent from 34 in February to 68 in March. This further increased by 98 percent from March to April.

"While deaths also increased from July to August was at 18 percent, from 97 deaths to 114 deaths per day. But we are interpreting this very cautiously as there maybe late reports of deaths in the days to come and these rates may be higher by then," Vergeire said. (PNA)