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MANILA, Oct 9 (Mabuhay) — 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Duque then appealed to hospitals to observe the recommended bed capacity for COVID-19 patients — 30% for private hospitals and 50% for public hospitals. (MNS)

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