The number of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region has peaked, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Jan. 24.
This comes days after Metro Manila logged its highest daily infection count of 18,700 cases on Jan. 10.
"Lumalabas na nag-peak na at nakikita nating ilang araw na sunud-sunod bumababa ang kaso ng NCR at lumiliit ang posyento na inaambag nito sa ating total case load," Duque said during the Laging Handa press briefing.
Duque added that easing the region's current Alert Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions will depend on the two-week growth rate, average daily attack rate, and health care utilization rate.
"Di natin masabi sa ngayon [kung pwede na magbaba sa Alert Level 2]. Gusto natin makita yung patuloy na pagbagsak ng mga kaso at kung maabot nga natin yung mga threshold na binanggit ko, kung malagay sa moderate risk level ang kaso and low risk level ang hospitalization rate, pwede na tayo magbaba sa Alert Level 2," he said.
On Jan. 23, OCTA Research Group downgraded Metro Manila's risk classification level from "severe" to "very high," as the number of cases began to decline.
Cebu City, Iloilo City and Lapu Lapu had new highs in cases reported by DOH on Jan 22. This moved Iloilo City to severe outbreak classification (with Baguio). NCR downgraded from severe outbreak to very high risk. @dzbb @DZAR1026 @allangatus @ali_sotto @dzrhnews @News5PH @NewsRmn pic.twitter.com/UL80WpG4R0— Dr. Guido David (@iamguidodavid) January 23, 2022
Duque also reported that currently, the bed utilization rate in the metro is at 41.81% or low risk while the ICU utilization rate is at 47% or low risk.
He added that Metro Manila is ready to downgrade to Alert Level 2 by February. "Maganda naman ang ating vaccination coverage. Maganda ang tiwala na maayos natin ang pagsunod sa minimum public health standards."
Regarding concerns about the Omicron sub-variant called BA.2, Duque said, "Ang estado ng sub-variant ay variant under investigation, 'di pa siya variant of concern."
'Less than 1,000 by Valentine's Day'
During the press briefing, OCTA Research's Guido David said that the cases in the metro peaked on Jan. 10 with 18,700 cases in one day, but it continued to rise again the next few days.
According to the research fellow, the number of cases began its continuous decline on Jan. 15—the 18,000 case count on that day have gone down to around 5,000 daily infections yesterday.
"Ang laking improvement at ang projection natin hopefully patuloy na 'yan sa Valentine's Day baka less than 1,000, at by the end of February, baka less than 500 nalang," David said.