PH logs 263 new COVID-19 cases as 13 labs fail to submit data

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 20 2021 04:03 PM

People attend the first dawn mass at the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Joseph, popularly known as the Bamboo Organ Church in Las Piñas City on December 16, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People attend the first dawn mass at the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Joseph, popularly known as the Bamboo Organ Church in Las Piñas City on December 16, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA - The Department of Health on Monday announced 263 new COVID-19 cases as 13 laboratories failed to submit their data.

Of the fresh cases, 177 occurred within the recent 14 days, while Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Zamboanga Peninsula were the top regions with most cases in the recent two weeks, the DOH said.

It is the third straight day that the number of new cases counted fewer than 300, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said, citing DOH data adjusted for duplicates.

Four laboratories were non-operational on Saturday, while 13 others were unable to submit their data, the DOH said. These 17 laboratories contribute on average 7.8 percent of samples tested and 4.1 percent of positive cases, it added.

The positivity rate was at 0.8 percent, based on test results of samples from 28,438 individuals last Saturday.

A total of 2,837,730 cases have been confirmed since the coronavirus reached the Philippines last year, of which 9,592 or 0.3 percent remain active infections, based on the latest Department of Health (DOH) bulletin.

The day's number of active cases is the lowest in almost one year and seven months, or since May 22, 2020 when 9,563 were logged, said the ABS-CBN IRG.

COVID-related deaths increased by 45 to 50,784 fatalities. 

Of the newly reported deaths, nine occurred this month, one in November, 17 in October, three in September, four in August, three in July, and one in June. There were also cases from last year, including three in August, and one each in July, June, May and March, the DOH said, citing late encoding of death information. 

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

Meanwhile, there were 390 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,777,354. 

Five duplicates, classified as recoveries, were removed from the total case count, while 35 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, according to the DOH.

It said 105 cases were found to have tested negative and have been removed from the total case count. These 105 are recoveries, the DOH added.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively. 

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The Philippines on the same day confirmed its third case of the omicron variant in a returning Filipino from Qatar who, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, had travel history in Egypt.

The 36-year-old unvaccinated male arrived on Nov. 28 at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport via Qatar Airways flight QR 924, according to the spokesperson. 

He has remained asymptomatic since his arrival, and underwent a repeat RT-PCR test with a negative result on Sunday, Vergeire said.

Three close contacts of the OFW were identified and retested for DOVID-19, all of whom had negative results, she added.