MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - The Philippines on Monday logged 33,169 new COVID-19 cases, the 3rd straight day it reported a record-high daily tally, data from the health department showed.
The health agency announced 26,458 and 28,707 new infections on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The latest positivity rate was at 46 percent, based on test results of samples from 73,234 people on Jan. 8, Saturday, according to the latest Department of Health (DOH) bulletin. The country reported a record-high figure for the 6th straight day, said Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.
Ten laboratories, which contribute on average 6.2 percent of samples tested and 6.3 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.
Of the newly reported cases, 32,972 or 99 percent occurred within the recent 14 days. Metro Manila (18,535 cases), Calabarzon (7,443 cases) and Central Luzon (3,403 cases) were the top regions with new cases in the recent 2 weeks, the DOH said.
The Philippines' total case count has climbed to 2,998,530 cases, of which 157,526 or 5.3 percent were active infections, based on DOH data.
This the highest number of active cases since Sep. 24, 2021 when 173,408 were announced, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
The current active cases are broken down as follows: 301 critical, 1,461 severe, 2,858 moderate, 147,912 mild, and 4,994 asymptomatic.
COVID-related deaths increased by 145 to 52,293. All of the new deaths were from Davao region, according to the DOH.
It added that three occurred in November last year, 18 in October, 52 in September, 22 in August, 24 in July, 13 in June, five in May, one each in March and February, and six in January (of 2021).
A total of 3,725 more recoveries were also reported, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,788,711. This is the highest since Nov. 10, 2021 when the DOH announced 4,029 recoveries, the ABS-CBN IRG said.
Eighty-six duplicates, of which 73 were recoveries and 2 were deaths, were removed from the total case count, the DOH said.
It added that 124 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation.
The intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 52 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
Isolation beds are 54 percent used up in Metro Manila, and 41 percent across the country. Ward beds, meanwhile, are 67 percent utilized in the capital region, and 41 percent nationwide.
Ventilators are 25 percent used up in Metro Manila, and 17 percent across the country.
Health Sec. Francisco Duque III on Monday said the country is at "critical risk case" classification after recording a 690% increase in daily new COVID cases in a week.
He noted that Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon are the regions with the biggest attack rate of infections.
"Ang tulin, ang bilis ng kalat ng kaso," he said in a public briefing led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The government is ready to escalate Metro Manila to Alert level 4 if healthcare capacity reaches high risk or more than 70 percent, said acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles.
"We will not hesitate to do Alert Level 4 if we see that it breaches the threshold. We continue to manage the situation so we do not reach the threshold. So that means making sure our healthcare is well enough to accommodate those who need hospitalization," he told ANC's Headstart.
"'Yung total bed utilization, that’s not hitting the metric yet. Tayo sa (Here in) NCR we’re what--well not 100 percent fully vaccinated--that’s where the importance of fully vaccinated comes into being."
The capital region has 9.58 million people fully inoculated against COVID-19, while 1 million others have received an additional dose, according to the DOH.
There are 52.39 million individuals fully vaccinated nationwide, while 57.64 million others have received a first dose and 3.3 million booster shots have been administered, as of Sunday.
The government had missed its own target to fully vaccinate at least 54 million people by the end of 2021.
MANILA CITY ADJUSTS COVID RESPONSE STRATEGY
In Manila, the city government announced several changes in its COVID-19 response, as the locality faces a new surge in infections.
Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso said results of swab tests may be released in 72 hours, instead of the previous 24-hour mark, due to staff shortage.
“'Yung ating molecular lab o RT-PCR swab test, employees, medical frontliners, 14 out of 25 were infected of COVID-19 and they are all in quarantine,” he said.
Domagoso advised Manila residents that those with mild infections will only be taken to isolation facilities in order for hospitals to utilize the limited COVID-19 beds for patients with severe conditions.
He called on the public not to panic, and assured patients who are not afflicted with COVID-19 but also need medical attention that they will be taken care of.
Domagoso encouraged everyone, including non-Manila residents, to freely avail of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs being offered in the city.
He said the city received another batch of 20,000 Molnupiravir tablets for COVID-19 patients.
“Ito po ay libre, mananatiling libre hangga’t maari, hanggang kaya natin. Tanging kailangan lamang ay reseta ninyo, contact number. Wala na po kayong kakailanganing iba pa,” said Domagoso.
— With a report from Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News