Department of Health Technical Advisory Group member Dr. Edsel Salvana (Screengrab)

MANILA – The National Capital Region (NCR) is less likely to move from low risk to moderate risk classification for Covid-19 despite the continuous increase in cases, an infectious diseases expert said Monday.

Earlier, the OCTA Research Group said the NCR will be under a moderate threshold by next week.

In a televised Laging Handa public briefing, Department of Health Technical Advisory Group member Dr. Edsel Salvana said the department uses different parameters when determining classification transition -- low risk to moderate risk.

"Isa diyan ay iyong tinatawag na average daily attack rate na alam naman natin kapag moderate-risk, ang number that we usually quote is about six out of a 100,000. Sa ngayon, it’s just a little above one kung titingnan natin (One of those parameters is the average daily attack rate which we know under moderate risk, the number we usually quote is about six out of a 100,000. Now, it's just a little above one if we look at it)," he said.

The World Health Organization noted that there should be more than 800 cases per day in the NCR alone and not nationwide in order for the region to move to moderate risk classification.

The hospital utilization rate should also be 50 percent or above.

"Ngayon ay nasa low 20s po tayo sa utilization. Bagama’t positive iyong ating two-week growth rate, iyong antas ng (Currently, our utilization is in the low 20s. While our two-week growth rate is positive, the level of the) actual number of cases is still manageable in terms of the healthcare capacity," Salvana said.

As for the escalation of the current alert level, he explained there are no indications to do it.

"Ang pinakapakay naman talaga ng ating alert level system is really to preserve the healthcare system. Malayo po tayo doon sa point na iisipin natin, mao-overwhelm ulit dahil sa dalawang bagay (The main purpose of the alert level system is really to preserve the healthcare system. We're far from the point of thinking that it will be overwhelmed because of two things)," he said.

The low healthcare system utilization could be attributed to the high vaccination rates and the public's continued use of face masks.

"Kasi nakikita naman natin, even in countries na mataas ang level of vaccination, for instance sa Taiwan, kung hindi talaga sila gumagamit ng masks the way that we are using them here, umaabot ngayon sa Taiwan, yesterday ay 50,000 new cases sila (Because we can see, even in countries with a high level of vaccination, for instance in Taiwan, if they're really not using masks the way that we are using them here, yesterday they have 50,000 new cases)," Salvana said. (PNA)