PH reports 3,656 new COVID cases; few deaths, recoveries due to data system issue

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2021 04:50 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2021 05:36 PM

People flock to the Dapitan Arcade in Quezon City to purchase Christmas decorations on October 19, 2021 days after the capital region was put under Alert Level 3 which allows for the opening of more business establishments. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People flock to the Dapitan Arcade in Quezon City to purchase Christmas decorations on October 19, 2021 days after the capital region was put under Alert Level 3 which allows for the opening of more business establishments. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Department of Health on Wednesday announced 3,656 new COVID-19 cases, the Philippines' lowest daily tally in three months.

The number of new cases is the lowest since July 13 or when the DOH reported 3,604 infections, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

Of the total 2,735,369 confirmed cases since the pandemic reached the country last year, 67,061 or 2.5 percent are active infections, according to the latest DOH bulletin. 

COVID-related deaths increased by five to 40,977, while 228 more recoveries were recorded, raising its total to 2,627,331. 

The number of deaths is the lowest daily figure in nearly 7 months or since April 4 when two deaths were reported, excluding days when no fatalities were announced due to technical issues, the ABS-CBN IRG found.

It added that the number of recuperations was the lowest in two weeks, or since Oct. 6 when the agency announced 133 recoveries. 

"The low number of reported recoveries and deaths today are due to technical issues with COVIDKaya. Additional recoveries and deaths shall be reflected in the case bulletin in the following days," the DOH said.

Two laboratories, which contribute on average 0.5 percent of samples tested and 1.2 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit data, according to the DOH.

The positivity rate was at 11.6 percent, based on samples of 42,296 individuals screened on Oct. 18, Monday. It is the lowest since July 18, according to Edson Guido, head of ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy rate in Metro Manila and the Philippines was at 53 percent and 59 percent, respectively. 

Twenty duplicates were removed from the total case count, of which 16 were recoveries, according to DOH. Five cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, it said.

"In addition 2 cases were found to have tested negative and have been removed from the total case count. These 2 are recoveries," it added.

Watch more on iWantTFC

The DOH earlier said all areas in the country have "peaked and are at downward trend," and only Zamboanga Peninsula remains under "high risk" classification for virus cases.

Government is also preparing to give a third dose of vaccines for priority sectors, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire had said. Vaccine makers must apply for their jab's emergency use authorization to be amended to include a third dose, she said.

The vaccination of children with comorbidities will be expanded to 13 more hospitals in Metro Manila later this week, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

More than 24.7 million people in the country have been fully vaccinated against the respiratory illness, while 28.6 million have received their first dose, according to government data.