MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Wednesday logged its highest number of active cases so far as it also announced 32,246 new COVID-19 cases, data from the health department showed.
The country's total case count climbed to 3,058,634, of which 208,164 or 6.8 percent are active infections, according to the Department of Health's latest case bulletin.
The last time that the number of active cases surpassed 200,000 was on April 17, 2021 when 200,799 active cases were reported, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
The current active infections are broken down as follows: 298 critical, 1,468 severe, 2,872 moderate, 197,091 mild, and 6,435 asymptomatic.
The positivity rate, meanwhile, is at 45.7 percent, based on test results of samples from 63,903 people on Jan. 10, Monday. This is the second highest since data became available, said Edson Guido, head of ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.
Eleven laboratories, which contribute on average 3.3 percent of samples tested and 4.5 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.
Of the day's additional confirmed infections, 31,793 or 99 percent occurred within the recent 14 days. The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were Metro Manila (17,902 cases), Calabarzon (6,838 cases) and Central Luzon (3,268 cases).
The number of new cases is the country's second-highest daily tally next to the 33,169 that the DOH announced on Jan. 10.
COVID-related deaths increased by 144 to 52,654 fatalities. Of the new fatalities, 20 occurred this month, eight in September last year, 31 in August, eight in July, three in June, 13 in May, 38 in April, 16 in March, five in February, and two in January 2021.
There were 5,063 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,797,816. This is the highest since Nov. 6, 2021 when the DOH announced 5,130 new recoveries, according to the research group.
Eighty-five duplicates, of which 67 were recoveries and one was a fatality, were removed from the total case count, while 125 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 nationwide was at 56 percent and 43 percent, respectively. Ventilators are 24 percent and 18 percent utilized in the capital region and across the country, respectively.
Metro Manila's isolation beds and ward beds for COVID-19 are 55 percent and 67 percent used up, respectively. Nationwide, they are at 45 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
Confirmatory swab tests or RT-PCR tests must be reserved for symptomatic individuals, especially those in vulnerable sectors such as the elderly, WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.
"It would not be necessary to test and confirm every infection unless of course you're in vulnerable groups or the elderly where it would be useful to understand so we can initiate early treatment," he said in a virtual public briefing.
"It’s also not very useful in testing other asymptomatic people in a household once you have a confirmed omicron case in a household because of the higher transmissibility. They are very likely to get infected or would have got already infected."
Health advocates last week called on government to conduct free mass testing following the steep rise in COVID-19 cases after the holiday season, which experts suspect is most likely driven by the more transmissible omicron variant.
At least two manufacturers of self-administered COVID-19 test kits are seeking certificates of product registration from the Food and Drug Authority.