THE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is coordinating closely with local government units (LGU) that have not yet been placed under Alert Level 4 despite already breaching 70 percent in their coronavirus disease (Covid-19) healthcare utilization.

Acting presidential spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said quarantine status in Bataan, Iloilo City, Ormoc City, Naga City, Dagupan City, Western Samar, Tacloban City, Biliran and Zamboanga del Sur should have already been escalated to Alert Level 4 based on their Covid-19 bed utilization rate, the two-week growth rate and average daily attack rate.

But he said Friday, January 21, that Covid-19 bed capacity in these areas can still be increased, which made the IATF decide not to place them under Alert level 4 for now.

“If they increase their dedicated Covid-19 bed, then they will stay in Alert Level 3,” said Nograles.

“’Yung mga ibang lugar din, we are also consistently monitoring them, advising them we are now pushing the regional IATFs and the regional task forces also to help us in monitoring ‘yung mga (Covid-19) dedicated beds. Kailangan pataasin natin dedicated beds for Covid para hindi na tumama sa 71 percent threshold ang bed utilization,” he added.

(We are also consistently monitoring other areas and advising them that we are now pushing regional IATFs and regional task forces to also help us in monitoring Covid-dedicated beds. We have to increase our dedicated beds for Covid so that we will not reach the 71-percent threshold of bed utilization.)

On Thursday, January 20, the IATF raised the quarantine status of Kalinga, Ifugao and Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region, as well as Northern Samar in Eastern Visayas from level 3 to 4.

These areas will be under Alert Level 4 from January 21 to 31, 2022.

More areas were also placed under Alert Level 3, including Apayao, Puerto Princesa City, Masbate, Siquijor, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Lanao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Sarangani Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Norte, Maguindanao and Basilan.

The country has been experiencing another Covid-19 surge believed to be driven by the Omicron variant.

The country on Thursday logged 275,364 active Covid-19 cases. (SunStar Philippines)