MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Wednesday announced 7,661 new COVID-19 cases, the second consecutive day the daily tally fell below 10,000, data from the health department showed.
The positivity rate was at 24.8 percent, based on test results of samples from 40,453 individuals on Jan. 31, Monday, according to the latest Department of Health bulletin.
Of the newly reported cases, 5,806 (76 percent) occurred within the recent 14 days. Western Visayas (896 cases), Metro Manila (873 cases) and Calabarzon (694 cases) were the top regions with cases in the recent two weeks.
The number of fresh infections is the lowest since Jan. 4 when 5,434 were announced, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said.
The Philippines has so far tallied a total of 3,577,298 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 160,297 or 4.5 percent remain active. This is the lowest figure of active infections since Jan. 10 when 157,526 were recorded, according to the research group.
Of those still battling the disease, 316 are in critical condition, 1,521 are severely ill, and 3,056 are moderate cases. Majority or 149,829 are mild cases, while 5,575 have no symptoms.
COVID-related deaths increased by 43 to 54,097. This is the lowest figure since Jan. 30 when the DOH reported 20 deaths, the ABS-CBN IRG said.
Of the newly reported deaths, 26 occurred this month, three in December, one in November, five in September, four in August, three in July, and one in June, according to the DOH.
There were 23,392 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 3,362,904. This is the lowest since Jan. 28 when 13,106 new recoveries were recorded, the research group said.
Twenty-eight duplicates, including 18 recoveries, were removed from the total case count, while 28 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.
Two laboratories, which contribute on average 0.9 percent of samples tested and 1.5 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.
Intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Metro Manila and nationwide are 40 percent and 46 percent used up, respectively. The utilization rates of isolation and ward beds in the capital region and across the country are also below 50 percent.
The COVID-19 alert level system will stay as it prepares local governments in the event that new COVID-19 variants emerge, according to acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles.
Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2 until Feb. 15, after nearly a month of being under Level 3 due to a rise in cases brought by the omicron variant.
"'Di natin tatanggalin ang alert level system. Just in case a new variant of concern or interest would come, maibabalik natin agad sa Alert Level 2," Nograles told ANC's Headstart.
(We will not remove the alert level system. Just in case a new variant of concern or interest would come, we can return to Alert Level 2.)
"It's a warning system for our local governments. Ito pong alert level system natin serves as a guide for local governments ano po ang dapat nilang gawin at this level of cases or at this level of hospital utilization rates," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire added.
(This alert level system serves as a guide for local governments on what they should do at this level of cases or at this level of hospital utilization rates.)