Manila Covid-19 Field Hospital (PNA photo by Ben Briones)

MANILA  The rise in Covid-19 cases due to the emergence of variants of concern (VOC) will not determine the risk classification of an area.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, Vaccine Expert Panel member, said it has always been the practice of health authorities to monitor health care utilization rate and cross tabulated it with average daily attack rates and thresholds.

“With this current variants of concern, alam natin na napakataas ng hawaaan (we know that infections are really increasing) but we expect na less number ang ma-hospitalize at mag-develop ng severe (that there will be less number of hospitalized and those will develop a severe) infection,” he said during Tuesday’s “Laging Handa” public briefing.

Solante emphasized that the government’s massive vaccination program helped in lowering hospitalization and mortality rates.

The World Health Organization said four Omicron variants are classified as VOC as of June 9.

Solante explained that a rise in active cases in certain areas won’t always mean that the Alert Level system will escalate.

Titingnan natin ang health care utilization, titingnan natin ‘yung viability ng health care system. Kung hindi naman napupuno at kaya pa maski mataas ang kaso. Definitely we can do with that and we can continue with our activities,” Solante said.

Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 1 until July 15 after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) updated the matrices to be used for the Alert Level System.

The two-week growth rate will no longer determine the case risk classification, which will now be based on average daily attack rates and current thresholds.

However, the IATF retained the total bed utilization rate and its current thresholds as the main metric for health system capacity.

The Department of Health recorded 4,976 new cases from June 21 to 27 as cases rose to 710 per day or 257 more than the previous week.

"There's nothing to worry about because we're still at less than one case per 100,000 population for our average daily attack rate," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum on Monday. (PNA)