The Department of Health on Friday said that the National Capital Region (NCR) Pilot for the Alert Level System shall be extended from October 1 to 15, as approved by the COVID-19 Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The pilot implementation of the Alert Level System in NCR was extended for the IATF to further assess and analyze the processes and strategies undertaken by local government units (LGUs) and will be again subjected to weekly assessment pending new metrics. Further, the roll-out of the Alert Levels System to the rest of the country will  be postponed until the complete evaluation of the pilot implementation and monitoring system across all LGUs are set in place.

NCR is currently under moderate risk case classification but intensive care utilization is still under high risk classification. The NCR has an intensive care unit bed utilization rate at 76.8% while the total COVID-19 bed utilization rate is at 62.6%. The assessment of the implementation of the Alert Level for NCR shall be done weekly.

Areas under Alert Level 4, the second-highest alert level, show high and increasing case counts with total COVID-19 bed and intensive care beds at increasing utilization rates.

The DOH called on LGUs under Alert Level 4 to ramp up active case finding, conduct risk-based testing using RT-PCR, fast-track vaccination among high-risk groups, and ensure timely submission of data to decongest hospitals and reduce the number of severe infections and deaths. LGUs should also implement granular lockdowns from the barangay down to the household level to contain the transmission of COVID-19.

The public is also reminded to continuously observe the minimum public health standards and consciously avoid the 3Cs that pose a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission: crowded places, closed-contact settings, and closed spaces with poor ventilation. Additionally, everyone is urged to avoid mass gatherings and go out for essential travel only.