Five Metro Manila areas earlier declared to be under a moderate risk for COVID-19 will revert to a low-risk classification after the metrics for identifying the risk were revised, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
DOH spokesperson and Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has modified the matrices to be used for the Alert Level System and removed the two-week growth rate in determining the case-risk classification.
With this, Vergeire said, Pasig, San Juan, Quezon City, Marikina, and Pateros will deescalate to low risk despite recording a growth rate of 200 percent as of Saturday.
“They will go back to low risk again because their average daily attack rate does not exceed 6 and their health care utilization is less than 50 percent,” Vergeire said.
“The hospitalization rate, the overcrowding in hospitals, and the severe and critical cases are more important to all of us,” she added.
The DOH said an area will be classified as moderate risk if its hospital utilization is above 50 percent, and its average daily attack rate is at least six average cases per day per 100,000 population.
The NCR has been declared under Alert Level 1 from July 1 to 15 despite a rise in COVID-19 infections.
Also on Wednesday, the DOH issued guidelines that will allow adolescents to receive COVID-19 booster shots starting Thursday.
Vergeire said these guidelines would cover the inoculation of adolescents aged 12 to 17 who are not immunocompromised. Those in this category can receive the booster five months from the time they got their second jab.
Government initially rolled out the booster jab to immunocompromised teens, who are eligible to receive it 28 days after getting their primary series of vaccines.
Vergeire reiterated that the priority for now is for everyone to receive their first booster, following calls for the expansion of the
implementation of the second booster.
As of Monday, a total of 70.5 million persons have been fully vaccinated, of whom 15 million have received their booster shots and 40 million more were eligible to get an additional jab, DOH data indicated.
About 9.5 million teens and 3.4 million children ages 5 to 11 have received their primary series, while 792,000 health workers, elderly, and immunocompromised persons have received their second booster, the DOH also said.