MANILA (UPDATED) — The Philippines on Tuesday reported 13,827 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest in a week, even as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the community transmission of the more virulent Delta variant.
The country's total confirmed infections climbed to 1,989,857, of which 145,562 or 7.3 percent are active, the Department of Health (DOH) said in its latest bulletin.
The agency attributed the day's relatively fewer COVID-19 cases to the "lower laboratory output" on Sunday. On Monday, the DOH confirmed an all-time high 22,366 new cases.
"Lower number of samples from disease reporting units or [local government units] are also being observed during Sundays," the DOH added.
The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG) said that the day's tally of new cases is the 15th highest since the pandemic started, and the fewest since Aug. 24 when the agency logged 12,067.
The number of cases still battling the disease was over 100,000 for the 16th straight day, according to the research unit.
Positivity rate is at 25.4 percent, out of the 49,187 samples screened on Sunday, the DOH said. This means that 1 in 4 people tested turns out positive for the coronavirus.
The DOH also recorded 118 recent fatalities, pushing the country's COVID-19 death toll to 33,448. This included 37 cases first tagged as recoveries, they added.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said this is the 14th straight day that daily deaths counted more than 100.
Meanwhile, 16,759 patients have recently recovered from the disease, according to the health department.
Total recoveries stood at 1,810,847 or 91 percent of the cumulative total cases.
A total of 172 duplicates, of which 153 are recoveries, have been excluded from the running tally, DOH added.
Eight laboratories failed to submit data on time.
According to its latest COVID-19 bulletin, intensive care unit (ICU) beds occupancy rate in Metro Manila is at 71 percent, and 73 percent nationwide.
Ward beds in the capital region are 74 percent occupied, and 71 percent all over the country.
Isolation beds, meanwhile, are 66 percent used up in Metro Manila, and 65 percent nationwide.
Over 400,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in August
Guido, ABS-CBN's data analyst, said the country registered 400,000 new COVID-19 cases or 20 percent of its total virus infections in the month of August alone, making it the worst month so far in terms of the country's pandemic situation.
Compared to the active cases DOH posted on July 31 (60,887), the Philippines' active infections at the end of the month more than doubled to 145,562.
The country's highest positivity rate since data became available — 27.9 percent — was also recorded on Aug. 29.
There were also over 5,500 additional COVID-related deaths for the whole duration of August, he pointed out.
Guido also noted that the country could cross 2 million total COVID-19 cases on Wednesday at the earliest.
The DOH has been urging the public to get vaccinated if they are already eligible for the COVID-19 jabs to avoid severe or critical cases that may need hospitalization.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 13.78 million people, which is 19.46 percent of the target to attain herd immunity against the disease.
At least 19.3 million Filipinos, meanwhile, have received their first dose.
The Philippines logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.