COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila remains 'fragile' - DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 18) — The COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila remains "fragile," with some cities reporting a slight uptick in cases, Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire bared Friday.

"Very fragile ang sitwasyon natin sa NCR (Our situation in the National Capital Region is very fragile)," Vergeire told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"Kahit nakikita natin na bumababa na, nakapagdecongest na tayo ng ospital, pero ang ibang mga lugar sa Pilipinas ay tumataas, ganoon din po, madali din po tayong pwedeng bumalik sa pagtaas kung hindi po natin mamamanage ng maayos," she added.

[Translation: Even if we see cases declining, even if we have decongested our hospitals, there are still other areas in the Philippines that have experienced a surge, and this can happen to us too, we can quickly return to that surge if we don't manage this well.]

Vergeire said 11 out of 17 Metro Manila cities and municipality have reported an increase in the average daily attack rate over the past days. They are also monitoring three cities that have shown a "moderately high" ICU utilization rate.

"We are seeing an increase in cases in some of the cities like Pasay, Malabon and Parañaque, pero syempre pinag-aaralan," she said. "Hindi naman po siya nagiging stable na tuluy-tuloy na pagtaas pero nakakakita po kasi kami ng uptick."

[Translation: We are seeing an increase in cases in some of the cities like Pasay, Malabon and Parañaque, but of course, we are studying this. They are not showing a stable increase but we are seeing an uptick.]

Vergeire said a small city like San Juan which has limited capacity, and Makati City which only has three major hospitals, usually seek assistance from nearby cities that are part of their networks when in need of additional hospital facilities.

"There are really hospitals in Metro Manila that are nearing that maximum capacity for ICU beds for COVID. Pero hindi po yan ang kalahatan. Hindi po iyan ang totality. Kasi ngayon ang totality natin sa ICU utilization is just at 47%," she clarified, noting that some cities really have a smaller capacity ranging from two to seven beds.

[Translation: This is not the totality. Because right now, our total ICU utilization is just at 47%.]

On Friday, OCTA Research Group reported that Metro Manila averaged 758 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past seven days, with a positivity rate of 7%, hospital bed occupancy of 35%, and ICU bed occupancy of 46%.

Cities with an ADAR of below 5 and fall under the "moderate-low risk" category are Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan, Marikina, Manila, and Quezon City. Pateros, Navotas, Malabon, and San Juan had recorded less than 20 new cases per day.

In terms of healthcare utilization rate, Pateros recorded an above 70% hospital bed utilization, while Parañaque and San Juan had higher than 70% ICU bed allocation, according to OCTA.

On Wednesday, Health Undersecretary and treatment czar Leopoldo Vega said Makati and Muntinlupa, and Rizal province are still under the "high risk" level in terms of bed occupancy in intensive care units for COVID-19 patients, indicating that 70 to 85% of the ICU beds are occupied.

READ: ICU capacity in 3 areas in NCR Plus at ‘high risk’ — treatment czar 

Vega urged hospitals to tap the services of the One Hospital Command Center, which finds facilities that have vacant beds for COVID-19 patients. He noted that the overall occupancy in the National Capital Region falls under 50% or "low risk" category.