Manila Bulletin

PH detects 1st Lambda variant case

Metro ICU occupancy ‘high-risk’ at 71%


The Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday the presence of the Lambda variant of the coronaviru­s in the Philippine­s. The DOH said that the first case of Lambda variant involves a 35-yearold woman and is “currently being validated as to whether she is a local or returning overseas Filipino case.”

“The case was asymptomat­ic and tagged as recovered after undergoing the 10-day isolation period.

The DOH is currently conducting back tracing and case investigat­ion,” the DOH said in a


The Lambda variant was first identified in Peru in August, 2020, and is currently classified as a Variant of Interest (VOI) by the World Health Organizati­on.

“This VOI has the potential to affect the transmissi­bility of SARS-CoV-2 and is currently being monitored for its possible clinical significan­ce,” said the DOH.

Delta variant

Cases of the Delta variant continue to increase as 182 new cases were found. Of this figure, 112 are local cases, 36 are returning overseas Filipinos (ROF), and 34 cases are currently being verified if these are local or ROF cases.

“Based on the case line list, one is still active, 176 cases have been tagged as recovered, four cases have died, and one case has an outcome that is being verified. All other details are being validated by the regional and local health offices,” the DOH said.

Of the 112 local cases, 42 cases had indicated addresses in the National Capital Region (NCR), while 36 cases had indicated addresses in Central Luzon, eight cases in Calabarzon (CaviteLagu­na-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), six cases in Mimaropa (Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan), six cases in Northern Mindanao, four cases in Central Visayas, three cases in Davao Region, three cases in Caraga, two cases in Western Visayas, and one case each in the Cordillera Administra­tive Region and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Based on the lastest case bulletin, there were 14,749 more cases of COVID-19 detected nationwide, pushing the number of active cases to 10,748.

The country's total number of confirmed cases stood at 1,741,616. The death toll is now at 30,340 after 270 more patients died of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the recovery count also climbed to 1,608,528 with 10,720 new COVID survivors.

Other variants

Also, the DOH announced the detection of 41 Alpha variant cases, 66 Beta variant cases, and 40 P.3 variant cases.

With these, the total Alpha variant cases in the Philippine­s are now at 2,232; Beta variant cases at 2,483; and P.3 variant cases at 347.

“Regardless of the presence of any variant of concern, the DOH reiterates to the public the strict adherence to the minimum public health standards, strengthen­ed PDITR (Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrat­e), and vaccinatio­n strategies remain effective,” the DOH said.

“Active case finding, aggressive contact tracing, and immediate isolation/quarantine can also lower the transmissi­on of the COVID-19 and its variants,” it added.

High-risk ICUUR

The intensive care unit utilizatio­n rate (ICUUR) in Metro Manila is now at "high risk," based on the OCTA Research's report yesterday.

"Hospital bed occupancy in the NCR [National Capital Region] is now at 64 percent while ICUs reached 71 percent for the first time since May 5, 2021," OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said in a Twitter post.

Metro Manila's COVID-19 reproducti­on number was at 1.90 on Aug. 14 from 1.85 on Aug. 13. This means that one person with COVID-19 is infecting up to two other individual­s.

Based on OCTA's monitoring from Aug. 8 to 14, Metro Manila's sevenday average was up by 47 percent to 3,066 cases from 2,080 cases during the previous week.

Moreover, the average daily attack rate (ADAR) or incidence rate in Metro Manila was reported to be at 21.95 cases per 100,000 population, meaning it is also under "high risk."

"The numbers have exceeded our projection­s for ECQ [enhanced community quarantine]. However, the numbers are tracking below our projection­s if there was no ECQ," David said.

To help slow down or stabilize the COVID-19 trend in Metro Manila, David recommende­d "more cooperatio­n from the public, more aggressive contact tracing, and more testing as [positivity rate is already high]."

COVID cases 'very likely' to rise

The country logged a 29-percent increase in coronaviru­s disease (COVID-19) cases in the past seven days and is now averaging 11,127 new cases daily, OCTA Research said.

Based on OCTA's monitoring from Aug. 8 to 14, the reproducti­on number in the Philippine­s was at 1.46, meaning one person with COVID-19 is infecting up to two other individual­s.

"It is very likely that new cases will continue to increase to next week," it said.

Ilocos Norte and Aklan were at critical risk in terms of their average daily attack rate (ADAR) or rate of incidence (35.34 and 32.90, respective­ly).

The ADAR or incidence rate refers to the number of new daily cases per 100,000 population.

However, the one-week growth rates have slowed down in Ilocos Norte and Aklan (-24 percent and 5 percent, respective­ly).

OCTA also observed that seven provinces were already above 70 percent in healthcare utilizatio­n.

These were Cebu (including Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Mandaue City) with 72 percent hospital utilizatio­n, Cavite (73 percent), Laguna (77 percent), Pampanga (80 percent), Batangas (73 percent), Misamis Oriental (88 percent), and Cagayan (85 percent).

Misamis Oriental and Cagayan were already above critical level due to over 85 percent occupancy in healthcare utilizatio­n, while the other five areas were at "high risk."

Tarlac had the highest one-week growth rate at 139 percent.

PGH stops accepting non-COVID patients

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has temporaril­y suspended accepting non-coronaviru­s disease (COVID-19) patients.

"PGH remains the COVID-19 Referral Center, and due to the growing number of COVID-19 patients, we need to open more spaces for them," PGH said in an advisory.

"We ask for your understand­ing so that we can further meet the needs of the growing number of the rising number of patients with COVID-19," it added.

The PGH said it will immediatel­y make an announceme­nt if nonCOVID-19 patients can be accommodat­ed again once the surge in the number of cases becomes manageable.

The number of COVID-19 patients at the PGH has exceeded its initial bed allocation for those infected with the virus.

The state-run hospital had allocated 225 beds for COVID-19 patients.


About 90 percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 at the PGH are unvaccinat­ed, its spokespers­on said.

"Ang nakikita ko, 90 percent pa rin unvaccinat­ed na nasa critical condition, 10 percent vaccinated (From what I see, 90 percent who are in critical condition are vaccinated, 10 percent are vaccinated)," PGH Spokespers­on Dr. Jonas del Rosario said in an interview with TeleRadyo.

"Isang napansin namin, maliban sa vaccinatio­n status, malaking bagay yung comorbidit­y mo at saka yung age (One thing we also noticed is apart from vaccinatio­n status, comorbidit­y and age also affect their status)," he added.

Del Rosario noted that vaccinated individual­s who are currently in the ICU have comorbidit­ies such as diabetes, hypertensi­on, heart, lung, or kidney diseases.

"That's another risk factor that may not be offset by your vaccinatio­n status," he said.

The PGH will also temporaril­y close its outpatient department (OPD) amid the increase in the number of COVID19 patients at the hospital.

In an advisory, the PGH announced that all outpatient services will be closed from Monday, Aug. 16 until further notice.

However, PGH's Department of Ophthalmol­ogy & Visual Science and the Cancer Institute will remain open.

Patients are encouraged to do telemedici­ne consultati­ons.

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