MANILA (UPDATED) - The Philippines on Tuesday logged 18,056 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest in six days, as the country continued to battle its worst virus outbreak yet since the pandemic started last year.
"The relatively low cases today is due to lower laboratory output last Sunday, Sept. 12," read a note from the Department of Health's COVID-19 bulletin for the day.
Freshly-confirmed COVID-19 infections are historically fewer on Tuesdays due to a low number of testing laboratories operating over the weekend.
The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG) pointed out that the day's number of cases is the lowest since Sept. 8, although it is still the 14th highest announced by the health department.
The Philippines is experiencing a community transmission of the Delta variant, which is currently taking toll on the capacity of health care facilities nationwide.
Total recorded novel coronavirus cases in the country stood at 2,266,066, of which 177,670 or 7.8 percent are active, the latest bulletin showed.
ABS-CBN's research unit said the number of those still battling the disease is the lowest in 4 days and the 8th highest number of active cases so far.
Positivity rate is at 29.7 percent, based on test results of samples received from 50,425 individuals on Sunday.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said the positivity rate is the highest recorded since data became available.
COVID-related fatalities climbed by 222 to 35,529, data showed.
Tuesday's deaths included 92 cases first tagged as recoveries.
"This is the first time in more than two weeks when the daily death toll breached 200," the ABS-CBN IRG said.
There were also 20,542 new recoveries, pushing the total number of recuperations to 2,052,867.
Patients recovering from the disease are expected to become higher due to the number of people who tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.
Twelve laboratories failed to submit data on time.
Sixty one duplicates have been excluded from the running tally, majority or 54 of which are recovered cases, according to the DOH.
Philippine authorities earlier in the day announced placing the capital region to Alert Level 4 under its new quarantine classifications beginning Thursday.
Areas where Alert Level 4 is hoisted have high or increasing coronavirus cases, and have high utilization of their hospital and intensive care.
Based on the 4 p.m. bulletin, the intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Metro Manila is at 79 percent, while this is 77 percent nationwide. The ICU rates are considered high risk, according to DOH's classification.
Ward beds are 74 percent used up in the capital region and nationwide, DOH said.