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ICU occupancy in hospitals still high even as new cases decline —expert

An infectious disease expert on Sunday urged the public to not be complacent as utilization rate of intensive care units (ICU) in hospitals are still high even as new COVID-19 cases nationwide are decreasing.

On Dobol B TV, Dr. Rontgene Solante said fresh infections are from 7,000 to 8,000 which "is not a good number."

"Tignan natin ang health facilities. Although, nakikita natin ang significance ng pagbaba, mataas pa rin ang ICU, nasa 75%. These are numbers that we should not be complacent," he said.

(We should look at health facilities. Although we see the decrease [in the number of new cases], ICU [utilization] is still high at 75%.)

He also appealed to the public to be more cautious as the government slowly reopens the economy after Metro Manila was placed under Alert Level 3 from October 16-31. 

In San Lazaro Hospital, Solante said their occupancy rate in COVID-19 ward beds decreased by 40% while ICU use is also declining.

Vaccination rate still low

Asked if community quarantine will get stricter, Solante said there is still a big chance because the country has yet to achieve herd immunity.

"Sa vaccination rate at percentage ng nabakunahan sa Pilipinas, siguro 'di pa tayo umabot sa 40%. Ang layo layo pa natin doon sa herd immunity kasi 'yun naman talaga ang target natin. Malaking tsansa pa rin," Solante, a member of the country's Vaccine Expert Panel, explained.

(As to vaccination rate and percentage, we have not yet reached 40%. We are still far off the herd immunity, which is our target. So there is still  a big chance [that community quarantines will be tightened].)

Government records showed that around 23.8 million Filipinos are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, representing 31.09% of the target population.

The Department of Health on Saturday reported 7,772 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,713,509.

The country’s active cases, meanwhile, stood at 85,048.

Total recoveries climbed to 2,587,881 with 1,634 new ones, while 156 new fatalities pushed the death toll to 40,580. —KG, GMA News