Philippines records 1,297 more COVID-19 cases, 305 deaths

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2021 04:06 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2021 05:03 PM

People flock to the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, more popularly known as Baclaran Church, in Parañaque to offer prayers and hear mass on November 17, 2021, as places of worship have been allowed up to 70 percent capacity due to the lower COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in effect in Metro Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People flock to the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, more popularly known as Baclaran Church, in Parañaque to offer prayers and hear mass on November 17, 2021, as places of worship have been allowed up to 70 percent capacity due to the lower COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in effect in Metro Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Thursday announced 1,297 new COVID-19 cases, the 8th straight day that additional infections counted fewer than 2,000, data from the health department showed. 

Of the country's 2,821,753 total recorded cases, 23,158 or 0.8 percent were active infections, according to the latest Department of Health (DOH) bulletin. 

The number of fresh cases is the highest daily tally in three days, or since Nov. 15 when the DOH logged 1,547 infections, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said.

Meantime, the number of active cases is the lowest in 10 months, or since Jan. 17 when there were 22,762 active infections, the research group added, citing DOH data adjusted for duplicate and reclassified cases. 

COVID-related deaths increased by 305 to 46,422 fatalities. Of the 305 deaths, only 36 occurred this month as the DOH acknowledged "late encoding of death information."

Forty-four percent of the death toll reported today occurred last October, while 35 percent occurred in September, the DOH said.

"This issue is currently being coordinated with the Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to ensure information is up to date," it added.

This is the second straight day that more than 300 deaths were announced, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.

There were also 1,956 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,752,173. This is the lowest daily tally of recoveries in five days, or since Nov. 13 when 1,696 recoveries were recorded.

A total of 38 duplicates were removed from the overall case count, including 36 recoveries, while 278 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.

The positivity rate was at 3.4 percent, based on test results of samples from 42,043 individuals on Nov. 16, Tuesday. This is the 3rd lowest since testing data became available in April 2020, said Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.

The World Health Organization's benchmark for positivity rate is 5 percent or lower for at least two weeks. A relatively high rate means more people should be tested for the coronavirus.

Four laboratories, which contribute on average 0.8 percent of samples tested and 0.3 percent of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the DOH said.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 32 percent and 34 percent, respectively. 

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The Philippines on Wednesday began administering booster shots for health workers in a bid to protect its population against more transmissible COVID-19 variants.

The DOH is preparing guidelines for the rollout of additional jabs for the elderly and immunocompromised, Dr. Edsel Salvana of the DOH Technical Advisory Group told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Thursday.

The guidelines may be expected within the next two weeks, and might be different from the instruction released for medical frontliners, Salvana said.

The OCTA research group said the decline in new infections observed in the country since October can be attributed in part to the widening vaccination coverage.

More than 32.5 million people in the country are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, based on government data monitored by the ABS-CBN IRG. Some 40.1 million others have received their first dose.

The government is aiming to fully inoculate around 77.1 million people in the country to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

— With a report from Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News