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NCR COVID-19 reproduction number down to 0.84 but ICU occupancy still high —OCTA

COVID-19 reproduction number in the National Capital Region (NCR) continues to go down, dropping to 0.84 on Friday from 0.98 a week ago, according to OCTA Research.

Reproduction number refers to the number of people that one COVID-19 case can infect. A reproduction number that is below 1 indicates that the transmission of the virus is slowing down.

In a tweet, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said the NCR had an average of 3,711 new cases from September 24 to 30, or 17% lower than the previous week.

"The 7-day average of the positivity rate in the NCR also decreased to 17%," David said.

However, David noted that ICU occupancy in the NCR "remained at high level, above 70%."

On Thursday, the Department of Health reported that the ICU utilization rate in Metro Manila remained at high risk since 75% of the 1,600 beds are occupied.

High risk means the occupancy rate is more than 70% but less than 85%.

Data also showed that 64% of the 4,400 ward beds in the NCR are in use.

“We will have to look at projections, but a ballpark estimate is towards the end of October, ICU cases should start declining,” David told GMA News Online when asked for OCTA’s forecast for the ICU utilization rate in the region.

NCR will remain under Alert Level 4 from October 1 to 15 as the government extended the pilot implementation of the new five-level alert system.

However, the government COVID-19 task force approved the recommendation to increase by an additional 10% the allowable indoor capacities of dine-in services, in-person religious services, and personal care services in areas under Alert Level 4 for fully vaccinated individuals.

The task force also approved the reopening of fitness studios and gyms at a limited 20 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, provided that all gym workers should also be fully vaccinated. 

Both clients and service providers shall also wear face mask at all times and no group activities will be allowed.

Further, establishments allowed to operate under Alert Level 4, which have been awarded the Safety Seal Certification shall be allowed additional venue capacity of 10 percent beyond the prescribed venue or seating capacity.  --with Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News