MANILA (UPDATE)- The Philippines on Thursday logged 17,411 more COVID-19 cases, while occupancy rate of intensive care unit (ICU) beds across the country reached 79 percent, the highest recorded so far, according to the Department of Health.
This is the 5th straight day that new cases counted less than 20,000 after three consecutive days of breaching the mark from Sept. 16, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG) said.
The country's total recorded COVID-19 infections climbed to 2,434,753, of which 165,790 are active, the health department's latest bulletin showed.
"This is the second straight day that active cases fell below 170,000 after 12 consecutive days of topping 170,000 active cases daily, from Sept. 10 to 21," the ABS-CBN IRG said.
Thursday's registered active cases, however, is still the 20th highest since the pandemic started, according to the researchers.
Positivity rate is 24.6 percent, based on test results of 71,010 individuals screened for the disease on Tuesday. The rate is the lowest in over a month or since Aug. 17, ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said.
The Philippines is battling a new wave of COVID-19 infections due to the community transmission of the more virulent Delta variant, but new cases have fallen to below the 20,000-mark in the past 5 days, data showed.
Hospitals continue to struggle in coping due to the stream of virus admissions since late July, with several big facilities nationwide declaring near or full capacity.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night said he would seek the help of Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police medical personnel in case hospitals start needing additional staff.
NEW DEATHS, FATALITIES
The respiratory disease, which is believed to have first emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019, claimed 177 more lives in the Philippines. The death toll stood at 37,405.
According to ABS-CBN's research unit, this is the fourth straight day that the daily death toll has been below 200. "[This happened] after 6 consecutive days of topping 200, from Sept. 14 to 19."
The DOH noted that 88 of the freshly confirmed fatalities were first identified as recoveries.
Recoveries also increased by 14,090 to 2,231,558, accounting for 91.7 percent of the running tally of confirmed infections.
This, after 5 consecutive days that new recoveries topped 20,000, the ABS-CBN IRG observed.
Three laboratories failed to submit data on time.
A total of 77 duplicates had been excluded from the running total, 55 of which are recoveries.
The ICU occupancy rate nationwide soared to 79 percent, the highest since data became available, according to Guido. In Metro Manila, 80 percent of ICU beds are currently utilized.
Seventy-two percent of ward beds in Metro Manila and in the whole country are also being used, DOH data showed.
Earlier in the day, Philippine authorities announced that a fourth of the target population in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
A total of 19,376,832 people have been fully immunized as of Sept. 22, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.