FOLLOWING a steady downward trend of COVID-19 incidence in Baguio, the independent OCTA research group has finally declared the city as out of high risk classification.
According to OCTA fellow Guido David, Baguio is among six highly urbanized cities (HUCs) whose risk classifications have dropped a level.
Angeles, Dagupan, Lucena, Olongapo improved to low risk while Baguio City and Puerto Princesa moved to moderate risk classification, according to David.
Risk classifications assigned by OCTA are dependent on a variety of factors to track the spread of COVID-19.
These factors include weekly case growth rate, average daily attack rate (ADAR) or cases per 100,000 population across the week, reproduction number or the amount of cases caused by an individual case, healthcare utilization rate (HCUR), and positivity rate among tests conducted.
Baguio’s weekly case growth rate is at minus 41 percent according to OCTA, and has a low reproduction number at 0.45 along with a low HCUR of 43 percent.
However, even with these factors, the ADAR sitting at 21.17 and a positivity rate of 18 percent keep Baguio’s risk classification from going to low risk instead of moderate risk. Both factors are currently tagged as high, two levels below the highest possible risk classification.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong is reminding the public not to be complacent with health protocols despite the downtrend in COVID-19 cases recorded in recent weeks.
He said, while Baguio City and the whole country was able to tame COVID-19 Omicron local transmission, medical journals predict that the next barrier may be more deadly and more contagious.
“There is still a huge threat and this means we cannot be complacent,” Magalong emphasized.
As of February 16, the city only had 524 active cases, bringing up the total case count to 41,215, of which 96.76 percent or 39,881 have recovered.
The downtrend has also led to Baguio being moved from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 until the end of February, alongside the rest of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)’s provinces.
City Health Services Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said Baguio City listed a total of 41,242 COVID-19 cases as of 17 February 2022 with 96.94 percent recovery rate equivalent to 39,979. However, a total of 811 individuals, mostly with comorbidities have died due to the virus.
The city had a total of 503 variants of concern as of 12 February 2022 after the Philippine Genome Center reported 31 additional Omicron cases on Feb. 11 and 36 more on Feb. 12 traced to the city.
The breakdown on variants of concern in Baguio City is as follows: 117 Alpha; 52 Beta; 222 Delta and 112 Omicron.
While the Omicron surge was controlled in 28 days, the average daily attack rate (ADAR) is still high at 28 percent which is beyond the seven cases per 100,000 individual’s threshold the government has set for high-risk classification.
“Our goal is to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases daily to single digit with sustained implementation of minimum public health standards,” Mayor Magalong said. – with reports by Jessa P. Samidan