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Why NCR remained at Alert Level 4 despite decline in COVID-19 cases

Metro Manila remained under Alert Level 4 despite a noticeable decline in COVID-19 cases because its intensive care unit utilization rate was still considered high risk.

In an interview on Balitanghali, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the ICU utilization rate in the NCR remained at more than 75%.

The seven-day average of new cases, however, slipped by 17% to 3,891, based on the September 30 report by OCTA Research.

“Aside from the healthcare utilization, tinitignan din natin ang case trends,” Vergeire said.

[Aside from healthcare utilization, we also look at the case trends.]

“Kaya minabuti ng IATF na magdesisyon to retain na muna po itong alert level na ito hangga’t makita natin na nade-decongest na po natin ang mga ospital.”

[That is why the IATF decided to retain the alert level until we reduce congestion at hospitals.]

Vergeire said the extension would allow the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) “to further assess and analyze the processes and strategies undertaken by local government units (LGUs) and will be again subjected to weekly assessment pending new metrics.”

“Further, the roll-out of the Alert Levels System to the rest of the country will be postponed until the complete evaluation of the pilot implementation and monitoring system across all LGUs are set in place,” Vergeire said in a statement.

The DOH called on LGUs to ramp up active case finding, conduct risk-based testing using RT-PCR, fast-track vaccination among high-risk groups, and ensure timely submission of data to decongest hospitals and reduce the number of severe infections and deaths.

LGUs should also implement granular lockdowns from the barangay down to the household level to curb the spread of COVID-19, it said.

The department also reminded the public to continuously observe the minimum public health standards and avoid the 3Cs that pose a higher risk of coronavirus transmission: crowded places, closed-contact settings, and closed spaces with poor ventilation. -NB, GMA News