Philippines records 5,979 new COVID-19 cases; total nears 1.15 M

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2021 04:15 PM | Updated as of May 17 2021 05:37 PM

A resident gets inoculated with the Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City on May 12, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Monday reported 5,979 fresh cases of COVID-19, pushing the country's total to 1,149,925.

The Department of Health also reported 72 additional fatalities, the lowest in six days, bringing the death toll to 19,262. On May 11, there were 59 deaths, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

Thirty-one recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, said the DOH.

Meanwhile, total recoveries climbed by 6,602 to 1,076,428. It is the lowest daily tally of new recoveries announced in three days, or since May 14 when 2,972 were reported, noted the ABS-CBN IRG.

Active cases stood at 54,235, or 4.7 percent of the total recorded cases.

Of those still infected, 93.3 percent are mild cases, 2 percent are asymptomatic, 2 percent are severe, 1.4 percent are critical and 1.25 percent are moderate.

The DOH said that of the latest group of 45,210 people who were tested, 13.1 percent were found positive for the disease.

The average number of new COVID-19 cases per day in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the virus in the country, had decreased by 27 percent, the OCTA research group said.

"The average daily attack rate in the National Capital Region was 10.71 per 100,000," it added.

Under the DOH's policy, areas with attack rates higher than 10 are considered as high risk, while those with below it are classified as moderate risk.

The intensive care unit utilization rate in Metro Manila decreased to 48 percent from 61 percent, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.

The COVID-19 case bulletin for the day showed though that it is at 56 percent, while it is at 46 percent for ward beds, 41 percent for isolation beds, and 42 percent for ventilators.

Nationwide, ICU bed utilization is at 58 percent, ward beds is at 48 percent, isolation beds is at 43 percent, and ventilators is at 39 percent.

The DOH is still monitoring about a dozen patients who tested positive for the B.1.617 variant, which was first detected in India, she said.

One patient is still intubated, while 3 others have to rely on oxygen support, she said.

"Titingnan natin 'yung course ng sakit nila kung kumpara sa other variants ay mas mahaba at mas nagwo-worsen," she said.

(We will monitor the course of their disease and compare if it lasts longer and is worse compared to other variants.)

The Philippines is pushing to vaccinate at least 50 million people this year to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

As of May 15, the government has fully vaccinated 714,432 individuals against the disease that is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China. Over 2.24 million others have received their initial jabs.

So far, the Philippines has only been vaccinating health workers, senior citizens and people with comorbidities, but the national government recently allowed governors and mayors to receive COVID-19 jabs, saying local chief executives were also frequently exposed to the virus.

"Sila yung usual na umiikot sa mga barangay... They are vulnerable and frequently exposed," Vergeire said of the local officials.

(They are the ones who usually rove in villages.)

"This can help boost the vaccine confidence among their constituents," she added.

The DOH earlier said vaccine confidence among Filipinos has improved to nearly 75 percent about a month since the Philippines began its inoculation program against COVID-19.

Despite this, only 6 percent of the Philippines' senior citizens have been vaccinated against the disease.

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