MANILA (UPDATE)—Two out of five Filipinos test positive for COVID-19 as the country on Friday announced an all-time high 40 percent positivity rate and 21,819 new COVID-19 cases.
The positivity rate was based on samples of 70,049 individuals on Jan. 5, Wednesday, according to the latest Department of Health (DOH) case bulletin.
The Philippines reported a record-high figure for the 3rd straight day, according to Edson Guido, head of ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team. It announced a positivity rate of 36.9 percent on Thursday and 31.7 percent on Wednesday.
Ten laboratories, which contribute on average 0.8 percent of samples tested and 1.5 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.
Of the newly reported cases, 21,656 or 99 percent occurred within the last 14 days. The top regions with cases recorded were Metro Manila (13,634 cases), Calabarzon (4,129 cases) and Central Luzon (2,084 cases).
The number of fresh cases is the highest since Sep. 18, 2021 when 23,029 new infections were announced, according to Guido and information gathered by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
It is also the 6th highest single-day tally since the pandemic started in 2020, Guido said.
The Philippines has reported a total of 2,910,664 cases, of which 77,369 or 2.7 percent were active infections, according to the DOH. The number of active cases is the highest since Oct. 17, 2021, Guido said.
COVID-related deaths increased by 129, resulting in a total of 51,871 fatalities. Of these new deaths, 8 occurred this month, 34 in December 2021, 14 in November 2021, 26 in October 2021, 32 in September 2021, 10 in August 2021, 4 in July 2021, and 1 in April 2021.
There were 973 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,781,424.
Some 72 duplicates, of which 51 were recoveries and 1 was a death, were removed from the total case count, the DOH said. A total of 111 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, it added.
Government has released guidelines on home quarantine which is allowed for virus patients who have their own room and bathroom.
The DOH also warned the public against complacency and purposely getting infected with COVID-19 to receive natural immunity following an expert's remark that it may act as a "natural vaccine."
"'Wag po tayo maging complacent, magpapahawa dahil sa statement na ganito, hindi po ganyan ang direksyon ng ating response dito. Kailangan nating pigilang dumami pa ang impeksyon para mapigilan po natin ang pagproduce ng mas maraming variants," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
(Let's not be complacent and get infected because of this claim, this is not the direction of our COVID response. We need to prevent more infections in order to avoid producing more variants.)