Philippines logs 18,332 new COVID-19 cases, highest since pandemic began

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2021 04:15 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2021 11:14 PM

Residents enter the venue for the distribution of the government’s cash aid in Barangay 48, Tondo, Manila on Aug. 17, 2021.
Residents enter the venue for the distribution of the government’s cash aid in Barangay 48, Tondo, Manila on Aug. 17, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Monday listed 18,332 new COVID-19 patients, its highest number of fresh cases in a single day since the coronavirus was first detected in the country in January last year.

The additional cases bring the country's total to 1,857,646, data from the Department of Health's (DOH) daily bulletin showed.

Of those, 130,350 or 7.0 percent are active.

The DOH bulletin showed that the day's positivity rate is at 24.9 percent. It is above 24 percent for the 5th straight day, said ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido.

According to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, the day's reported new cases surpassed the 17,231 announced last Aug. 20, while the number of active infections is the highest since April 19 when the DOH logged 139,079.

Metro Manila recorded 4,805 additional infections, the highest since April 16, while Calabarzon logged 4,127, the region's highest single-day tally since the start of the pandemic, noted Guido, citing DOH data.

Region 3 had 2,010 new cases, and Region 2 logged 1,551, its highest ever, added Guido.

Among provinces and highly urbanized cities, Cavite and Laguna topped the list, with the former posting 1,851 new cases, and the latter, 1,122, said Guido.

Meanwhile, the country's COVID-19 death toll rose by 151 to 31,961, while 13,794 patients recently recuperated from the disease, pushing the total recoveries to 1,695,335, the DOH said.

The number of additional fatalities is the lowest since Aug. 17 when 96 deaths were announced by the DOH, the ABS-CBN IRG said.

"After dropping to 5,595 recoveries last Aug. 20, this is the third straight day that the daily tally of recoveries has been above 13,000," the group added.

All laboratories were operational on Aug. 21 but 3 facilities were unable to transmit data to the government's repository system, the DOH said.

Nearly all recent COVID-19 cases in the country are either asymptomatic or only show mild and moderate symptoms, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said.

"We’re seeing roughly about almost 98 percent mild, moderate and asymptomatics for these COVID cases. We’d seen the numbers of about 1.86 percent for the severe and critical [cases]," Vega said.

"This is kinda different from what we saw in April and last year when it was hovering about three percent for the severe and the critical," he added. 

While only a small fraction of COVID-19 cases are severe and critical, Metro Manila’s intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity is currently classified as high risk.

"Right now, the healthcare utilization rate in Metro Manila is in moderate risk. However, if you try to look into the intensive care units, it is now in the high risk position at 73 percent," Vega said.

The DOH COVID-19 bulletin for the day shows that 73 percent of ICU beds nationwide is utilized, while it is at 72 percent in Metro Manila.

Ward beds all over the country are 67 percent used up, while it is at 71 percent in the capital region.

Isolation beds are 61 percent occupied nationwide, while those in Metro Manila are 60 percent used up.

Meanwhile, utilization rate for ventilators nationwide is at 54 percent, while it is at 58 percent in Metro Manila.

COVID-19 vaccines prevent hospitalizations and severe cases, he reiterated as he encouraged more Filipinos to join the national government's inoculation program.

As of Aug. 22, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 13.13 million people or 18.5 percent of the target 70.85 million adult individuals, according to data from the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

About 17.26 million others have received their first dose, data showed.


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