Philippines posts 0.9 pct COVID positivity rate, 235 new cases

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 14 2021 04:10 PM | Updated as of Dec 14 2021 08:06 PM

 PNP officers patrol the streets reminding people of social distancing in the Divisoria shopping area in Manila on December 9, 2021. NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao says cops may carry rattan sticks to implement crowd control, remind of COVID-19 protocol, and discipline unruly citizens, in anticipation of Filipinos flocking to churches for Simbang Gabi masses. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
PNP officers patrol the streets reminding people of social distancing in the Divisoria shopping area in Manila on December 9, 2021. NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao says cops may carry rattan sticks to implement crowd control, remind of COVID-19 protocol, and discipline unruly citizens, in anticipation of Filipinos flocking to churches for Simbang Gabi masses. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Tuesday logged 0.9 pct COVID-19 positivity rate, the lowest in the country since testing data became available, as it also announced 235 new infections.

The positivity rate is based on test results of samples from 24,120 individuals on Dec.12, Sunday, the Department of Health said. On Sept. 7 this year, the country recorded its highest positivity rate at 29.5 percent, according to ABS-CBN News Data Analytics Team head Edson Guido.

According to the DOH, 228 of the 235 newly reported cases were confirmed this month, and Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon logged the most cases in the past two weeks.

This is the lowest daily national tally since May 23, 2020, when 179 cases were reported, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group. This is also the first time since July 2 last year that fresh cases fell below 300, with 252 new cases logged then, it said.

Of the country's 2,836,868 total recorded cases so far, 10,526 or 0.4 percent are active, the DOH said. This is the first time since May 28 that the number of active cases fell below 11,000, the ABS-CBN IRG said.

COVID-related deaths increased by 10 to 50,351. Nine fatalities occurred this month and one occurred in October, the DOH said as it flagged late reporting.

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

There were 780 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,775,991. 

Four laboratories were non-operational on Sunday, while eight others were unable to submit their data, the DOH said. These 12 laboratories contribute on average 1.5 percent of samples tested and 2.6 percent of positive cases, it added.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and across the country was at 24 percent and 23 percent, respectively. The nationwide ICU bed occupancy rate is the lowest since data became available, said Guido.

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All regions are now under minimal risk for COVID-19 cases, while Bicol region and Soccsksargen are being monitored following a positive growth rate in the past week, said Dr. Alethea de Guzman, director of DOH Epidemiology Bureau. 

"This decline in cases is reflected in our utilization rates, may it be total bed utilization or ICU utilization," she said.

The Philippines has yet to detect the omicron variant, the latest variant which "may be over 10 times more transmissible" than the original coronavirus variant, De Guzman added.

The declining number of new cases observed since October has been attributed to the widening vaccination coverage in the country.