MANILA (UPDATED)— The Philippines on Friday recorded 5,823 more COVID-19 infections, making it the 4th straight day that numbers fell below the 6,000-mark, data showed.
The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said this is the highest daily tally in 4 days or since Oct. 18, when the health department announced 6,943 cases.
The country's total reported novel coronavirus cases now sits at 2,745,889, of which 66,838 are still considered active, the latest bulletin indicated.
This is also the 5th straight day that the number of those still battling the disease reached fewer than 70,000, ABS-CBN's research unit noted.
Researchers said the last time this happened was on Aug. 7, when the agency registered 69,449 active cases, with duplicates already considered.
Positivity rate is at 11.6 percent, based on samples collected from 58,273 individuals on Wednesday. This means that more than 1 in 10 people screened for the virus yielded positive results.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said this is the 3rd straight day that the positivity rate was below 12 percent.
However, COVID-related deaths rose by 283 to 41,520.
According to the ABS-CBN IRG, the day's fresh deaths is the 10th highest ever recorded so far.
Guido, meanwhile, said it is also the highest logged in over a month or since Sept. 17.
A total of 220 cases first tagged as recoveries turned out to be fatalities after revalidation, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
Recoveries, meanwhile, climbed by 4,748, pushing the country's total recuperations to 2,637,531.
"This is the 6th lowest daily tally of recoveries this month," ABS-CBN's researchers noted.
Two laboratories failed to submit data on time.
Forty-five duplicates, 36 of which are recoveries, have been excluded from the running tally, DOH said.
The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide is at 49 and 56 percent respectively.
"ICU bed occupancy in NCR is below 50 percent for the 1st time since July 27," Guido said.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday told reporters that the relatively fewer cases logged in recent days is consistent with the positivity rate and admission, which "showed a downward trend."
The slowdown of fresh infections in the past weeks prompted Philippine authorities to ease lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila and other provinces, as well as the reopening of tourist spots and more establishments.
Some health experts were opposed to the developments, fearing a rebound of new cases within a few months.
But Vergeire assured the public that the case reporting underwent stringent process and validation with local Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (ESU).
"To ensure complete and valid reporting of case data, we ensure high compliance of laboratories in the submission of laboratory results, internal validation through our data management processes, and continuous data validation and verification with our regional and local ESU," said Vergeire.
"Also, in interpreting the observed case decline, we correlate our case data with admission and positivity rates and noted that these metrics also showed a downward trend," she added.
The Philippines is reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant, as authorities this week eased virus curbs despite reports that hospitals in the capital region and nearby provinces remained full.
The second phase of the country's pediatric vaccination already started, giving more authority to hospitals and localities in Metro Manila to inoculate individuals aged 12 to 17 with health risks.
The government has so far fully vaccinated 25.1 million individuals, while some 29.3 million have received their first dose. The vaccine rollout started March 1 this year.
The country is targeting to administer 1.5 million shots daily to achieve the 70 million target by yearend.