Philippines reports 18,659 new COVID-19 cases, 0 deaths amid 'technical issues'

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2021 05:49 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2021 10:32 AM

Catholic devotees pray outside the Quiapo Church in Manila as it reopens on the first day of the implementation of COVID-19 Alert Level 4 in Metro Manila on Sept. 16, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Catholic devotees pray outside the Quiapo Church in Manila as it reopens on the first day of the implementation of COVID-19 Alert Level 4 in Metro Manila on Sept. 16, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE)— The Philippines on Friday reported 18,659 new COVID-19 infections and 0 additional deaths, amid "technical issues" encountered by the Department of Health's (DOH) data repository system. 

The country's total COVID-19 cases stood at 2,453,328, of which 175,324 are still active, said the health department. 

According to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, the day's fresh infections is the highest in 4 days or since Sept. 20, when the country registered 18,937 cases.

The day's caseload is also the 17th highest since the pandemic started, while the remaining active cases is above 150,000 for 22 straight days, the research unit added.

Positivity rate is at 24.2 percent, based on the test results of 76,624 individuals who got screened on Wednesday. 

The positivity rate is the lowest in over a month or since Aug. 17, according to ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido.

The 0 deaths reported on Friday was due to the problems in the DOH's data collating system COVIDKaya. The death toll is still at 37,405.

"The Department of Information and Communications Technology is currently addressing issues encountered by the system," the agency noted. 

In late July, the DOH also reported no new fatalities due to the same issue.

Recoveries increased by 9,088 to 2,240,599. This accounts for 91.3 percent of the country's running total. 

Newly confirmed recuperations is the lowest in 2 weeks, or since Sept. 10, when the country had 9,067, the ABS-CBN IRG said.

A total of 84 duplicates, 47 of which are recoveries, have been removed from the cumulative total, according to DOH. 

One laboratory failed to submit data on time.

HEALTH CARE UTILIZATION RATES, TESTING

The country is struggling to contain a new wave of infections amid community transmission of the more contagious Delta variant, which has seen hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 admissions.

Based on the agency's bulletin, the country's intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy rate is at 77 percent, while this is 76 percent in Metro Manila — both considered high risk. 

Ward beds nationwide are 70 percent occupied, while this is 68 percent in the capital region. 

Earlier in the day, Malacañang said that newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country would include positive results that came from antigen tests, for as long as protocol for its correct use would be followed. 

In a public briefing, the agency also mentioned that it is investigating a reported drop in COVID-19 testing before it could say that the pandemic situation in Metro Manila already improved. 

In the past 2 weeks, Metro Manila registered negative 1 percent growth in cases. Its risk classification was reduced to moderate from high risk as hospital bed occupancy rate supposedly eased to 68.30 percent.