MNS photo

MANILA, Oct 21 (Mabuhay) —  The National Capital Region may soon be “deescalated” from Alert Level 3 if COVID-19 numbers continue to decrease, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Thursday.

Vergeire said NCR’s current seven-day moving average in COVID-19 cases is 1,156. She said a less than 500 average, like in the months before the case surge in March and April, is a “comfortable number” for the lowering the alert level.

“Before the increase in cases in March and April, we were just averaging less than 500 a day. So I think that will be a comfortable number [for the lowering of alert level],” she said.

“If we continue on to have this kind of numbers and it will continuously decline, then we can again reach that goal. And if that goal will be reached, then we can be de-escalated,” Vergeire added.

On Wednesday, the DOH reported 3,656 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest daily infections recorded since July 13. The new infections bring the nationwide tally to 2,735,369.

COVID-19 cases in the Philippines are expected to decrease to pre-Delta surge by the end of October amid the continued decrease in reproduction numbers.

In a tweet, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David noted that reproduction numbers both nationwide and in the National Capital Region (NCR) continue to go down.

As of latest monitoring by the independent research team, the reproduction number in the entire country is 0.55 while NCR’s is 0.47.

Vergeire, however, said aside from COVID-19 numbers, the government is also looking at healthcare utilization in deciding on alert levels.

“Let me just remind everybody that it is just not the numbers that we are looking at. We are also looking at healthcare utilization,” she said.

Vergeire said, “there is really this decline” in COVID-19 admission although ICUs in some hospitals are still 70% occupied. (MNS)

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