Philippines' new COVID cases up 9 pct; more severe, critical patients recorded

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2022 04:00 PM | Updated as of May 23 2022 04:36 PM

 People spend time and exercise outdoors as the capital region remains under the loosest COVID-19 alert level on March 10, 2022 at the Pinagbuhatan Shrine in San Juan City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People spend time and exercise outdoors as the capital region remains under the loosest COVID-19 alert level on March 10, 2022 at the Pinagbuhatan Shrine in San Juan City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines' daily new COVID-19 cases were up 9.9 percent and the number of severe and critical patients increased in the previous week, the Department of Health said Monday.

Some 718 or 12.9 percent of COVID-19 patients in hospitals were in severe and critical condition, according to the DOH's latest bulletin.

The figure is higher than the previous week's 588 severe and critical patients who comprised 10.9 percent of COVID-19 hospital admissions at the time.

A total of 432 or 15.4 percent of 2,812 intensive care unit (ICU) beds for COVID-19 patients were occupied as of Sunday, according to the DOH.

From May 16 to 22, the country recorded 1,214 new COVID-19 cases or an average of 173 per day, which is 9.9 percent higher than the cases reported from the previous week, said the health department.

The total number is an increase of nearly 9 percent or higher by 96 cases versus 1,118 cases logged the week prior or from May 9 to 15, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

Despite the slight increase, this is the 5th straight week that weekly cases remained below 1,500. From April 18 to May 8, 2022, the weekly cases ranged from 1,121 to 1,465, the group said.

Of the additional infections during the week, 14 were severe and critical, the agency reported. 

The DOH has repeatedly said an increase in cases would not be considered significant if the numbers do not lead to a rise in hospitalization and severe or critical illness.

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During the past week, the DOH said it verified 6 COVID-related fatalities, citing late encoding of death information. Three of the deaths occurred between May 9 and 22, 1 in April, 1 in February, and 1 in January 2021, the DOH added.

This is the second-lowest weekly death toll since the start of the pandemic, excluding weeks with no reported deaths, according to the ABS-CBN research team. It said this was also the third straight week that the death toll remained below 50. 

Some 69 million people or 76.71 percent of the eligible 90 million population have been fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease. At least 13.8 million have received their booster shots.

The DOH over the weekend announced it detected the first case of BA.4 in the country in a Filipino traveler from the Middle East earlier this month.

It reminded the public that practicing minimum health standards and vaccination remain the most effective ways of protection against new variants and the post-COVID condition or "long COVID."

Minimum health protocols can also protect against monkeypox, the DOH said.