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Metro Manila COVID-19 bed occupancy rate still at ‘high risk’ –DOH

The occupancy rate of beds dedicated to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Metro Manila is still in the “high risk zone” at 70% or higher, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

Nevertheless, according to Oscar Oida’s “24 Oras” report on Tuesday, the critical care utilization rate in the capital region did drop slightly during the two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

According to the updated classification system of the DOH, “high risk” covers occupancy rates between 70 and 100%, “medium risk” equates to 30 to 70% occupancy, while “low risk” corresponds to 0 to 30% utilization of critical care facilities.

The occupancy rate of COVID-19 intensive care unit beds fell to 70.42% as of August 16, the 13th day of MECQ, from 77.5% on August 3 before the strict quarantine protocol was reimposed.

The utilization of COVID-19 isolation beds also dropped to 70.15% as of August 16 from 76.47% on August 3.

Meanwhile, the occupancy rate of COVID-19 ward beds fell from 85.05% as of August 3 to 78.86% on August 16.

“Hindi po natin makikita na bababa ang cases,” Dra. Maria Carmela Kasala, president of the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology said.

“Realistically, hindi po ‘yun talaga ang pakay. Ang pakay po natin talaga ay mag-restrategize, mag-reboot. So at least po, alam namin na ‘yung mga strategies o recommendation ay pinakikinggan,” she added.

Several medical groups earlier urged the government to recalibrate its pandemic response following the surge in infections driven by the loosening of quarantine restrictions.

In response to the medical community’s call for a two-week “timeout,” President Rodrigo Duterte reimposed an MECQ from August 4 to 18.

“Unang una, masaya ang grupo dahil natugunan agad, mabilis ang naging aksyon ng ating pangulo at nabigyan ng bilin ang lahat ng mga opisyal sa gobyerno,” Philippine College of Physicians President Dr. Mario Panaligan said.

The medical groups also expressed hope that Filipinos will still be able to enjoy the coming Christmas season.

“Masyado na pong matagal itong five, six months. In less than two weeks na, mag-be-’ber’ [months] na. Alam niyo namang season na ng Pasko ‘yun so sabi nga namin, sana by Pasko, makalabas na tayo in good health,” Kasala said. Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News