Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Jan 13 (Mabuhay) –The Inter-Agency Task Force will recommend retaining the Alert Level 3 in the National Capital Region (NCR) should the healthcare utilization rate remain below 70%, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

Data from the DOH showed that 56% of the ICU beds in the region are occupied while 55% of the isolation beds are in use.

“They’re well within the moderate risk classification. So unless these breaches 70% utilization rate both for total beds and ICU beds, we will recommend to keep the status quo,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

Duque is also the chairperson of the IATF.

At the Laging Handa briefing, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said cases remain manageable at this time.

“Kapag i-escalate mo sa Level 4, ang ibig sabihin niyan talagang 71% na ‘yung ating healthcare utilization rate. Ang mataas ngayon ‘yung epidemic growth na talagang more than 200% sa NCR as taka ‘yung ADAR,” he said.

“Pero pinakaimportante ‘yung HCUR o ‘yung healthcare utilization at mababa pa rin naman ito sa NCR, nasa border lang ng low risk at saka moderate at 60%,” he added.

(But what’s more important is HCUR which is still low in NCR, it’s at the border between low and moderate at 60%.)

The ADAR or the average daily attack rate pertains to the incidence showing the average number of new cases in a period per 100,000 people.

However, Vega admitted that the healthcare utilization rate of some areas in the region has breached 70%.

“May mga areas talaga like San Juan, Taguig, Quezon City, ito ‘yung mga areas — at saka Marikina — na medyo mataas na, mga 71% na sila,” he said.

(There are areas like San Juan, Taguig, Quezon City, and Marikina, that have a high HCUR of above 71%.)

“So kailangan lang talaga ang coordinating o transfer nitong mga pasyente na nangangailangan talaga ng admissions sa mga ospital na puwede pa, may capacity pa to accept,” he added.

(We need to coordinate or transfer patients that are really in need of admission to hospitals that have the capacity to accept.)

Meanwhile, Duque said other regions may eventually follow the same COVID-19 pattern of NCR.

“I think it’s going to follow the same pattern eventually, but we are again guided by our metrics and the trend seems to be similar for regions outside of NCR,” Duque said.

When questioned what regions he is most concerned regarding the spread of Omicron, Duque named NCR, Region 4-A, Region 3, Region 1, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

“Of course, NCR is the major region, the epicenter of this wave or surge. And then you have Region 4-A or Calabarzon, Region 3, Central Luzon, and then Region 1, Ilocos Region, and then Cordillera Administrative Region,” he said.

“And also, I think, even Region 6 is showing a continuing increase in the cases,” he added.

The Philippines on Wednesday logged 32,246 new COVID-19 cases. (MNS)

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