Baguio realizes early Covid case decline but not yet out of the woods due to Delta

Baguio City is on track in its target to curb Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case surge earlier than the usual duration expected of a Delta variant-driven contagion.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong affirmed that the city is now experiencing a significant downtrend in cases after one month and three weeks of struggling against the spike which began on Aug. 20.

The mayor said this is significant because other cities took as long as three months to realize a downtrend.

He however cautioned that the letup in cases does not mean that the city is now out of the woods of the Delta contagion as infections continue to occur.

“We want to make sure that the decline will be sustained and we can do this if we will continue to keep our guards up, follow the health protocols and the movement restrictions,” the mayor said.

He said the cooperation of the local residents as well as the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) officialdom and their constituents to the health and entry protocols implemented due to the Delta variant played a big role in lowering the cases.

The mayor earlier projected that cases in the city may go down in two weeks based on the readings of the various indicators that measure the extent of the effects of the pandemic.

“Two weeks ago, I made that projection based on our case reproduction number (R naught which helps predict the number of cases generated from exposure to a patient) and now it’s happening,” he said.

The mayor said after validation, it was affirmed that the city was able to sustain an R naught of below 1 from Sept. 22 to Oct. 12 which proves that case transmission is indeed decelerating.

He said the city’s daily average number of cases has dropped to 120-150 from as high as 261 from week Oct. 4-10.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said results of other indicators were consistent with the R naught figure like the two-week growth rate (TWGR), the average daily attack rate (ADAR) and the positivity rate which all decreased.

The city’s R naught as of Oct. 18 was .404, TWGR was -54 percent and the ADAR was 33.5 per 100,000 population from 50.5.  The positivity rate for the past two weeks was reduced to 23 percent from the previous 28 percent.

Galpo said significant decreases in the numbers of new cases and new deaths were posted from Oct. 10-16. 

A “dramatic decline” in the number of active cases and increase in recovery was achieved after data updating and validation was done on all the cases especially those on home isolation through the help of the personnel augmentation from the Baguio City Police Office.

Active case percentage from the total number of cases decreased from 14 percent to only four percent while the recovery rate shot up from 83.11 percent to 93.01 percent.

The hospital critical utilization rate has been down to 76.76 percent and the capacity of quarantine and isolation facilities managed by the city is presently below 50 percent. — Aileen P. Refuerzo