MANILA — Quezon City, Pateros, Marikina, Pasig, and San Juan have reverted to the low risk classification for COVID-19, the Department of Health said on Wednesday.
The agency over the weekend classified the 5 areas under moderate risk due to an uptick in coronavirus infections.
But these areas returned to low risk after the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 heeded the recommendation of experts to remove the 2-week growth rate as a metric in determining risk classification, said DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Meron tayong pinunang 5 lugar na moderate risk case classification sa NCR, mapupunta ulit sila sa low risk dahil ang kanilang average daily attack rate ay hindi pa lumalagpas ng 6 at healthcare utilization rate naman is less than 50 percent,” she said in a televised public briefing.
(We flagged 5 areas for moderate risk case classification in NCR, they will revert to low risk because their average daily attack rate has not exceeded 6 and their healthcare utilization rate is less than 50 percent.)
Prior to the changes, a positive 2-week growth rate was among the indicators which warranted the escalation of an area's risk classification and COVID-19 alert level.
Vergeire noted that some health facilities and areas in the National Capital Region are being given a closer look after recording an increase in admissions.
“Meron tayong binabantayang mga ospital at areas sa NCR kung saan tumataas ang admissions sa ICUs (intensive care units) pati sa COVID beds. Pero ina-analyze natin. Nakita natin yung isang lugar tatlo lang kasi ang ICU beds, so 'pag nagpasok ng 3, 100 percent na po sila agad.”
(We are monitoring some hospitals and areas in NCR, where there is an increase in ICU admissions and use of COVID beds. But we are analyzing that. We saw that in one area, there were only 3 ICU beds, so once they have 3 patients, they're already 100 percent occupied.)
Aside from more transmissible sublineages of the omicron variant, the DOH attributes the rise in infections to the low booster uptake, declining adherence to minimum public health standards, and increasing mobility.
Vergeire said the public must now look beyond the new daily COVID-19 case numbers.
“We are now supposed to live with the virus. This virus is here to stay with us," she said.
"Ang pinakaimportante sa atin ngayon ma-manage at ma-maintain ang mga ospital. Expected talaga na may magkakasakit, basta mild o asymptomatic, tayo ay makakaagapay dito.”
(What's important now is we are able to manage hospitals. It's expected that people will get sick, but as long as it's mild or asymptomatic, we can take care of them.)
The DOH on Tuesday said the country recorded the highest number of active COVID-19 cases since April 29 this year.
The DOH said the Philippines' total active COVID-19 cases has reached 7,192, with 576 new cases.
Metro Manila alone had 282 new COVID-19 infections, the agency said.