THE country’s overall health care utilization rate for Covid-19 cases is within “safe” levels, but some areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) were still experiencing high hospital occupancy rates, OCTA Research reported on Monday.

OCTA said that most cities in Metro Manila had a lower health care utilization rate, at the same time posting a continued decline in average daily attack rates.

The average daily new cases in the region have dropped by 27 percent to 1,479 new cases from May 10 to May 16. It also noted that the reproduction number is now at 0.57 while the average daily attack rate was approaching the moderate risk level at 10.71 cases per 100,000 population.

The Department of Health said a region that has an average daily attack rate higher than 10 cases per 100,000 population is classified as high risk. Those with an attack rate of 7 to 10 are considered moderate risk, and lower than 7, low risk.

In Metro Manila, the cities of Navotas, Malabon, Manila, Taguig, Caloocan, Pasay and Muntinlupa have attack rates lower than 10 cases per 100,000 of the population. Only the cities of Makati and Valenzuela had a hospital utilization rate of more than 60 percent.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said only 48 percent of the beds for Covid patients in the NCR were occupied. The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization was 61 percent, down from the 88 percent during the time when Covid-19 cases surged.

The country’s temporary treatment and monitoring facilities are 36-percent occupied.

Vergeire said during a media briefing the national daily average of new cases is 5,886 cases, down from a record 10,000 cases. In Metro Manila, the daily average was 1,700 to 1,900 cases per day.

“Hopefully, bababa tayo at makita natin ’yung previous to MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) numbers natin (Hopefully, we would go back to our previous MECQ numbers), which in NCR was just around 400 to 500 cases per day,” Vergeire said.

Treatment czar and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the cities of San Juan, Pasay and Makati still have a critical risk utilization rate, or above 80 percent, but he sees a downtrend in ICU admissions.

“Some of the hospitals in Metro Manila have allocated more beds, transforming part of their isolation beds into critical care beds and we have opened modular beds to take care of the critical situation,” Vega told the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Vergeire said local government units should continue to intensify their Covid response and strengthen their PDITR or prevention, detection, isolation, treatment and reintegration protocols that would shorten case detection time from 9 to 11 days to 5.5 days from onset of illness.

She said intra-zonal travel for tourism purposes is being discussed at the Inter-Agency Task

Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases level.

Inter-zonal travel is allowed in areas with a low caseload.

The two health officials agreed that despite the drop in cases, people should not remain complacent because there are still multiple Covid variants in the country.

On Monday, the Health department reported 5,979 new Covid-19 cases, raising the total count to 1.149 million cases.