Philippines records highest COVID-19 positivity rate yet, 17,220 new infections

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2022 04:07 PM | Updated as of Jan 06 2022 08:17 PM

Devotees offer prayers outside the Quiapo Church  ABS-CBN News
Devotees offer prayers outside the Quiapo Church on January 4, 2022 amid the ongoing Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila. The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene will be closed until January 6 amid the spike of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate in the country as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Thursday reported its highest COVID-19 positivity rate yet at 36.9 percent as it also logged 17,220 new cases, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

The positivity rate was based on test result of samples from 59,847 people on Jan. 4, Tuesday, based on the latest case bulletin. This is the highest positivity rate that the country has logged since testing data became available, according to Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.

Eleven laboratories, which contribute on average 2.8 percent of samples tested and 4.5 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.

Of the newly reported cases, 17,104 or 99 percent occurred within the recent 14 days. Metro Manila (11,563 cases), Calabarzon (3,165 cases), and Central Luzon (1,126 cases) were the top regions with new infections in the recent 2 weeks, said the DOH.

The number of new cases is the highest since Sep. 27 last year when 18,396 cases were announced, according to Guido and data gathered by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

The Philippines' total case count stood at 2,888,917, of which 56,561 or 2 percent were active. The number of active infections is the highest since Oct. 25 last year when 52,156 active infections were recorded, according to Guido and ABS-CBN IRG data.

Of those still battling the disease, 312 are critically ill, 1,470 are severe, 2,954 are moderate cases, 49,988 are in mild condition, and 1,837 are asymptomatic.

COVID-related deaths increased by 81 to 51,743. Of these new fatalities, six occurred each this month and in December last year, eight in November, 19 in October, 24 in September, 12 in August, three in July, two in June, and one in May.

The DOH said 616 more recoveries were also reported, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,780,613.

Forty-eight duplicates, of which 46 were recoveries, were removed from the total case count while 66 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and across the country was at 43 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Ventilators are 18 percent and 14 percent used up in Metro Manila and nationwide, respectively.

The capital region's isolation beds and ward beds are 42 percent and 50 percent utilized, respectively. Nationwide, it's at 34 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

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The Philippines has detected 29 more cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant, raising its total to 43, the DOH said earlier in the day.

The additional cases are composed of 10 returning Filipinos and 19 local cases with addresses in Metro Manila, the DOH said in an earlier statement.

Of the 19 local cases, 14 remain active, 3 have recovered, while the status of 2 patients are still being verified, it said.

Metro Manila ramped up its vaccination campaign for the elderly as some 52,000 of its population in the region have yet to receive a first dose as it grappled with a rise in infections.

Following an unusual demand for paracetamol and other drugs for flu in the capital region, some pharmaceutical firms have been sourcing basic medicines from abroad to augment supply, according to the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines.