Gov't monitoring COVID-19 surges in areas outside Metro Manila — Nograles

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Gov't monitoring COVID-19 surges in areas outside Metro Manila â Nograles
Cops from the Eastern Police District conduct a check point along E. Santos Street in Brgy. Concepcion Uno in Marikina City on July 30, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The government is monitoring areas outside Metro Manila that recently posted high growth in COVID-19 cases as the Philippines continues to battle a sharp rise in pandemic infections linked to the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles noted that some regions are now at critical risk because of a high two-week growth rate and average daily attack rate or the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.

"Based on the report of (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque (III) to the President during the Talk to the People, we have seen that there are regions being monitored, aside from NCR (National Capital Region), Region IV-A CALABARZON, Region III (Central Luzon), and then CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region), and Region I (Ilocos)," Nograles said in an interview with One PH last Wednesday.

"Of course, we are monitoring regions that are under Alert Level 3 because they have a high two-week growth rate and a high average daily attack rate," he added.

Nograles said some regions, including Metro Manila, have posted high growth rates in cases but remain under Alert Level 3 because their hospital bed utilization rates have not reached high risk levels. The bed utilization rate in an area with a high risk ADAR and two-week growth rate has to reach 71% for it to be placed under the stricter Alert Level 4, he added.

"In NCR, we are still at moderate (risk) in terms of total bed utilization. So it does not yet fall within the high level of total bed utilization, so we are still under Alert Level 3," Nograles said.

Under Alert Level 3, a number of businesses or activities are allowed up to 30% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated persons and 50% outdoor venue capacity. When an area is placed under Alert Level 4, several establishments or activities may operate or may be undertaken at a maximum of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity provided that they have been issued a safety seal certification.

Last Monday, Duque reported that six regions are now at critical risk namely Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, CALABARZON, CAR and Central Luzon. Metro Manila's two-week growth rate in cases was higher by 1,425% from January 4 to 17 compared to the previous two weeks. The two-week growth rates for other regions at critical risk were 3,321% for Cagayan Valley, 3,362% for Ilocos, 3,002% for CALABARZON, 4,436% for CAR, and 2,949% for Central Luzon.

The ADAR per 100,000 population of critical risk regions during the period were 103.59 for Metro Manila, 13.31 for Cagayan Valley, 10.25 for Ilocos, 36.65 for CALABARZON, 25.05 for CAR, and 21.51 for Central Luzon.

As of January 16, the bed utilization rates for five of the six critical risk regions are at moderate risk. Only Central Luzon's bed utilization rate was at low risk. The rest of the country's regions are classified as high risk. 

The entire Philippines is now at critical risk with a 1,805% two-week growth rate and an ADAR of 24.82 per 100,000 population from January 4 to 17. The country's healthcare utilization rate remains at low risk, with a bed utilization rate of 48.33% and an intensive care unit beds utilization rate of 49.33% as of January 16. 


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