Philippines confirms 421 new COVID-19 cases; 2 more deaths due to late reporting

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 28 2021 04:27 PM | Updated as of Dec 28 2021 09:09 PM

Visitors flock to the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City on Christmas Day, Saturday. Health experts cautioned about the slight increase in COVID-19 cases from last week and advised the public to observe minimum health protocols as the threat of coronavirus remains. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Visitors flock to the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City on Christmas Day, Saturday. Health experts cautioned about the slight increase in COVID-19 cases from last week and advised the public to observe minimum health protocols as the threat of coronavirus remains. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

DOH tells families to celebrate holidays safely amid uptick in new cases

MANILA (UPDATED)— The Philippines on Tuesday reported 421 more COVID-19 cases, raising the country's total to 2,839,111 even as it remains on guard against the more transmissible omicron variant.

This is the 5th straight day that the number of new cases is over 300, ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said. 

Based on the health department's 4 p.m. bulletin, the country has 9,750 active infections, accounting for 0.3 percent of the total case count. Of those still battling the disease, 374 are in critical condition and 1,778 are severely ill.

The number of active cases is considered the highest since Dec. 18, Guido noted.

Intensive case unit beds are 21 percent used up in Metro Manila, and 18 percent across the country, the Department of Health said.

The positivity rate is at 2.6 percent, derived from test results of samples from 18,122 individuals on Sunday. 

Guido also pointed out that that the 2.6 percent positivity rate is the highest in more than a month or since Nov. 23. The World Health Organization's (WHO) bench mark is 5 percent or lower for at least 2 weeks.

There were two more patients who died due to the respiratory disease, bringing the death toll to 51,213. 

The DOH said the two died last September but were only reported Tuesday due to "late encoding of death information to COVIDKaya."

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

Meanwhile, the country's total number of recoveries increased by 248 to 2,778,148. 

A total of 18 laboratories failed to submit data on time, of which two were not operational. 

UPTICK IN CASES

The capital region also saw a slight rise in new COVID-19 cases, while the positivity rate has also increased, OCTA Research said. 

Metro Manila's COVID-19 reproduction rate or number of persons a patient can infect nearly doubled to 0.85 from 0.44 last week. This figure was only at 0.33 in early December, said OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David. 

On Tuesday, DOH affirmed this, saying that the average daily cases in the country rose in the past 7 days to 351 from 289. 

In Metro Manila, the average daily tally climbed to 145 from 74 the previous week, the agency said.

"DOH reiterates that these increases have not yet translated in admissions in hospital and most of these cases are mild or asymptomatic," the statement read. 

This is why the DOH said families should spend the holidays practicing minimum health protocols, amid the threat of the omicron variant. The country has already confirmed 4 omicron cases. 

The agency pointed out that even those fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease should adhere to health protocols and remain cautious against COVID-19. 

"With the threat of the omicron variant, the government is also ensuring that the country has enough beds and facilities to respond to both COVID-19 and non COVID-19 cases," the DOH said. 

"Crucial to this is also having fewer people who will need those hospital beds, and we, as individuals, have control over choosing activities that are safe."

On Monday, the DOH announced the country's fourth omicron variant case involving a 38-year old female who arrived in the country from the US on Dec. 10 via Philippine Airlines flight PR 127. 

Her husband had also tested positive for COVID-19.

Philippine authorities have fully vaccinated 62 percent of the target 77.1 million individuals, government data showed on Monday.
 

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