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Population agency’s data tool points to COVID high-risk villages 

A NEW data tracking system has been released for coronavirus cases at village level, which is seen to help local governments improve the response measures and plan for location-based vaccination priorities, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) said on Sunday.

In a statement, the agency said the recently released version of its demographic vulnerabilities tool contains latest figures in barangays along with the effects of the pandemic on residents.

The agency said it has identified 1,272 villages nationwide with the highest number of cases, averaging 137 cases daily from Sept. 2020 to April 2021.

POPCOM noted that 15,252 barangays remained “COVID-free” at that time.

Communities with the highest cases are mostly high-population density areas, with 201 to 999 people per hectare.

Low-population density areas, meanwhile, face different risks due to poor access to medical facilities and services, according to POPCOM Undersecretary Juan Antonio A. Perez III.

“Even LDs (low-population density) have higher-than-expected death rates not commensurate with the number of cases. This is because of the lack of access of residents to health-care facilities which are mostly located in cities or municipalities,” he said

POPCOM recommended that the Department of Health (DoH) and local government units mobilize teams in communities reporting high cases and deaths as well as plan for unimpaired access to hospital care in low density areas that were reporting deaths.

Mr. Perez also said the tool provides information that could serve as basis for planning the vaccination rollout with priority on high-risk areas.

Meanwhile, the DoH reported 3,083 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, bringing the total to 1.18 million.

The death toll rose by 38 to 19,951, while recoveries increased by 6,756 to 1.11 million, it said in a bulletin.

There were 50,635 active cases, 1.5% of which were critical, 93.1% were mild, 2.1% did not show symptoms, 2% were severe and 1.35% were moderate.

The Health department said lower cases were recorded due to the simultaneous updates being made in the COVIDKaya digital platform for information management. Some case data were not yet included in the platform.

“This issue is currently being investigated and addressed by the COVIDKaya technical team,” the DoH said.

It said 10 duplicates had been removed from the tally, eight of which were tagged as recoveries. It said that 1,478 cases were deactivated after being tagged by local epidemiology and surveillance units as duplicates.

Twenty-five recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Three laboratories failed to submit data on May 21.

About 12.2 million Filipinos have been tested for the coronavirus as of May 21, according to DoH’s tracker website. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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