City COVID cases on the downtrend but mayor wants more “slack” to prepare for holiday surge

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Mayor Benjamin Magalong sought more interventions and innovations to further lower Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city possibly to nil before Dec. 15.

This is to give the city enough “slack” or breathing room before fresh surges happen as what is expected during the Christmas holidays.

“We need to further intensify our efforts and think of more interventions and innovations.  We have to build slack as cases are expected to escalate after the holiday season.  We have to have enough leeway so we don’t get overwhelmed,” the mayor told the City Health Services Office and other departments.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said the city’s COVID-19 numbers had further improved last week.

As of Nov. 23, the number of active cases had been reduced to 7.13 percent of the total cases while recoveries increased to 91.5 percent.  The average daily cases went down from 36 per day in October to 25 a day in November.

The city had only one death for the one-week period as compared to the previous week when the city had posted one death a day.  Its latest fatality rate is 1.37 percent which is below the national rate of 3.5 percent.

The 7-day moving average (MA) (total of the reported cases 7 days divided by 7) also showed a decreasing trend with the MA for Nov. 22 pegged at just 10 cases.  MA is computed by adding the total of the cases for the past seven days and divided by seven days.

The daily attack rate (proportion of population that contracts the diseases in an at risk population at a given time) which is one of the indicators in the national level for gauging COVID trend in an area also continues to decrease and is now at 1.08 percent as of Nov. 18.

The 7-day moving average of the daily attack rate was pegged at 3.7 percent which is below the threshold of 5.

Another indicator is the two-week growth rate which was pegged at 8.8 percent as of Nov. 22.

In the daily Exploratory Data Analysis, the University of the Philippines Baguio Department of Mathematics and Computer Science team said, “the two-week growth rate is calculated by obtaining the difference between the total number of cases and the number of cases for the past 14 days divided by the number of cases in the last 14 days.

“As of Nov. 22, the two-week growth rate is 8.8 percent implying that the total number of confirmed cases in the city has risen these past two weeks by 234 cases.  The 7-Day Moving Average is 12.555 percent from Nov. 16-22, 2020 – the average two-week growth rate for the said dates is higher than  the actual number of two-week growth and the moving average is generally decreasing indicating a possible downward trend,” the team noted.

Galpo said the total tests done as of Nov. 23 were 75,786 with an average of 311 tests done daily from Nov. 16-21.

The overall positivity rate was at 3.7 percent.

As to the critical care utilization rate, isolation beds in the five hospitals in the city remained at the danger zone with 85.48 percent occupancy while ICU bed usage is at warning zone with 42.3 percent.  Bed wards and mechanical ventilators however were at the safe zone with  29.87 percent and 16.67 percent utilization rates respectively.

The city has 407 available beds in its six community isolation facilities namely  the Baguio City Community Isolation Unit at the Sto. Niño Medical Center, Baguio Teachers Camp Community Isolation Unit (Roxas Hall), the baguio Teachers Camp Isolation Unit (Superintendent’s Quarters and Hernandez Hall), V Dorm 1, V Dorm 3 and the Ferionni Apartments. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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