Philippines registers 14,610 new COVID-19 cases

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2021 04:50 PM | Updated as of Aug 16 2021 04:55 PM

A notice about non-acceptance of walk-in patients is posted at the gate of the Philippine General Hospital - Out Patient Department in Manila on August 15, 2021. The country's largest COVID-19 referral center announced it will temporarily stop accepting sick people who are not infected with the coronavirus amid overcapacity. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
A notice about non-acceptance of walk-in patients is posted at the gate of the Philippine General Hospital - Out Patient Department in Manila on August 15, 2021. The country's largest COVID-19 referral center announced it will temporarily stop accepting sick people who are not infected with the coronavirus amid overcapacity. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines on Monday registered 14,610 new COVID-19 cases, the third highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic, bringing the country's cumulative total to 1,755,846, the Department of Health said.

Active cases climbed to 106,672, the country's highest in nearly four months, or since April 21 when 114,210 active infections were recorded, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

The number of active cases in previous days has been adjusted for duplicates.

Of those still infected, 0.7 percent are in critical condition, 1.3 percent are severe, and 0.89 percent are moderately ill.

Mild cases account for 96.1 percent, while 0.9 percent are asymptomatic.

The DOH said 71 percent of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 across the country are used up, as well as 63 percent of ward beds and 59 percent of isolation beds. Half of the country's ventilators are also utilized.

The agency said 10,674 patients have recuperated from COVID-19, pushing the country's total number of recoveries to 1,618,808. It is the third straight day that the additional recoveries counted more than 10,000. 

The death toll, meanwhile, rose to 30,366 after the agency confirmed 27 more deaths, the lowest daily tally in a week or since Aug. 9 when six fatalities were logged.

"Three cases previously tagged as recoveries have been validated to be active cases, and 22 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as death," the DOH said.

Seven laboratories were not able to submit their data, according to the DOH.

The agency's COVID-19 bulletin for the day showed that positive rate was at 23 percent. All labs were operational last Aug. 14.

The Philippines on Sunday confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 Lambda variant, a variant of interest feared to be quite similar to the Delta strain.

The country's first Lambda variant carrier is a 35-year-old pregnant woman from Western Visayas, Health spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said. She has already recovered.

"Mukhang local case talaga ito," Vergeire said in an online press conference.

(It seems that this is a local case.)

"Aming vina-validate pa further lahat ng impormasyon na mayroon sa ngayon," she added.

(We are further validating the information we have now.)

While the Lambda variant is reportedly more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain from Wuhan, China, it is not expected to spread as fast as the Delta mutation, Vergeire said.

The Delta remains to be the predominant COVID-19 strain in 26 countries where the Lambda variant was also detected, she said.

The Philippine Genome Center said the Delta variant seems to have overtaken other COVID-19 strains in the country.

"Nationally, based on submitted samples to us, mga 42 percent na po ng ating total sequences ang Delta," said PGC Executive Director Cynthia Saloma. 

(Nationally, based on submitted samples to us, the Delta variant makes up 42 percent of total sequences.)

The Delta variant only accounted for about 3.8 percent of genome sequencing samples in May, and around 5.8 percent in June, she noted.

The Philippines is "acting as if there is community transmission" of the Delta variant," Vergeire said.

"Because we are just doing purposive sampling... we still can't provide evidence from such," she said.

"We assume that there is already community transmission in the community."

The DOH is now conducting a mobile survey to "gain a better understanding of how Filipinos are keeping themselves healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic."

"We encourage the public to participate in this DOH-sponsored mobile phone survey, to assist the Department in its development of evidence-driven strategies that supplement and complement our Healthy Pilipinas campaign," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

As of August 15, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 12.5 million people against COVID-19. The figure accounts for 17.7 percent of the government's target to attain herd immunity against the disease.

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