UP COVID positivity rate spikes to 33.9% – UHS

The UP Diliman Health Service (UHS) recorded a 33.9% COVID-19 positivity rate during the first 10 days of May alone, the highest so far this year.

A document from the UHS Public Health Unit further revealed that the monthly COVID-19 cases in the university has been steadily increasing since January. The data was recorded from the free rapid antigen testing offered by the UHS to constituents who have COVID-19 symptoms.

The positivity rate – or the portion of COVID-19 tests returning positive – leaped from 20% in the entirety of April to 33.9% during the first 10 days of May. 

The World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate below 5% to ensure containment of the virus. A high percentage suggests high COVID-19 infection rates.

This upward trend in the university runs consistent with national numbers. The Department of Health has recorded a rise in positivity rate since February. They tallied a 22.4% positivity rate from May 1-7.

University protocols

The Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Metro Manila under alert level one from April 15-30. They have not released a new classification for May.

With the exception of “priority classes (PC),” in-person classes may still be conducted under alert level one, a September 2022 memo from the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) stated.

Enrolled students are also allowed access to classrooms and other indoor campus spaces like libraries and learning hubs under this alert level.

Meanwhile, PCs may be held face-to-face up until alert level three. Considered under PC are thesis classes, fieldwork, internships and “classes with essential [face-to-face] sessions requiring the use of campus facilities or equipment.”

As a precautionary measure, though, some UP Diliman professors have temporarily reverted to online and asynchronous sessions this week.

A document from the UP Philippine General Hospital (PGH) attached to the memo recommends the continued use of well-fitted masks inside the university and advises faculty, staff and students to immediately stay home when showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“Colleges should also have provisions for excused absences for students who are sick, avoid policies that incentivize coming to school while sick and support those who are learning at home if they are sick,” the UP PGH document said.

UP Diliman and the UHS have yet to issue reminders and statements about the surge.