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Duque: Downgrading NCR status from Alert Level 4 to 3 depends on COVID-19 cases trend

Downgrading the Alert Level 4 currently in effect in the National Capital Region to Alert Level 3 would depend on whether the current downtrend in the number of COVID-19 cases would continue, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Saturday.

"Itong pagbaba ng mga kaso from September 29 to October 5, ang daily average natin ay nasa 13,500 cases, seven-day moving average. Ito ay 23% lower [than the previous week]. Ang laki ng ibinaba nito from the week before na 17,500 average daily cases. Sana magpatuloy bumaba ng 45%, 50% this week," Duque said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(This decrease in [COVID-19] cases from September 29 to October 5, our daily average was at 13,500 cases, seven-day moving average. This is 23% lower [than the previous week]. This is a significant decline from the week before of 17,500 average daily cases. We hope the [average daily cases] will still go down to 45% or 50% this week.]

"Tinitingnan natin kung patuloy ang downtrend, kung puwede na tayong magbaba from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 dito sa NCR," he added.

(We are monitoring if the downtrend continues, if we can then lower the Alert Level from 4 to 3 in NCR.)

NCR was placed under Alert Level 4 on September 16 to 30 under a pilot implementation program of the new alert level system. This was extended until October 15.

Duque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases looks at certain metrics in determining the quarantine status of certain areas.

The Philippines on Friday reported 10,670 new COVID-19 infections, driving up the total tally to 2,643,494 cases.

Positivity rate

Duque said the positivity rate — the rate at which people test positive out of all those tested — also went down. 

From 27%, the positivity rate has gone down to 17 to 18%, he said.

"Pangkalahatan, nakikita natin, 'yung positivity rate bumababa," the DOH official said.

(Generally, we see the positivity rate going down.)

Duque said this is not because the testing capacity decreased or there are more who use antigen tests.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr. on Saturday said the continued decline in the number of COVID-19 cases is due to the increased vaccination rate.

"Nakikita natin ang pagbaba ng kaso ng COVID-19 na bunga na rin ng nagpapatuloy na bakunahan lalo na dito sa Metro Manila," Padilla said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(We see that the decline in the number of COVID-19 cases is also due to the continued vaccination especially in Metro Manila.)

"Mahigit 80% na o halos 90% na ang nababakunahan sa Metro Manila... Ang fully-vaccinated sa NCR ay aabot na rin sa 77%," he added.

(More than 80% or almost 90% [of the target population] have been vaccinated in Metro Manila. Those who are fully vaccinated in NCR reached 77% [of the target population].)


Asked about the bed and ICU capacity of hospitals, Duque said there are some hospitals preferred by some Filipinos, and these become overwhelmed and full.

"Pero kung titingnan mo ang pangkalahatan, ang total bed capacity dito sa NCR is about 52 to 53%," he said.

(Overall, the bed capacity in NCR is about 52 to 53%.)

The ICU capacity in the region is hovering between high risk and moderate risk, "nasa 70-71%," Duque added.

"Meron pa tayong 29% na available for admission kung kailangan ng ICU," he said.

(We still have 29% ICU beds available.)

Duque then appealed to hospitals to observe the recommended bed capacity for COVID-19 patients — 30% for private hospitals and 50% for public hospitals. —KG, GMA News