MANILA, January 28 ------ The Philippines on Thursday reported 18,191 new COVID-19 cases, the third consecutive day that fresh infections fell below 20,000, data from the health department showed. The positivity rate was at 35.2 percent, based on samples of 61,013 individuals on Jan. 25, Tuesday, according to the latest Department of Health bulletin. This is the lowest positivity rate since January 3, said Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team. Of the newly reported cases, 17,625 or 97 percent occurred within the recent 14 days while Calabarzon (2,101 cases), Metro Manila (2,073 cases), and Davao region (2,011 cases) were the top regions with cases in the recent two weeks.
The Philippines has so far tallied a total of 3,493,447 cases, of which 226,521 or 6.5 percent remain active. This is the lowest number of active infections since Jan. 12, 208,164 active cases were reported, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group. Of the 226,521 active cases, 214,857 (94.85 percent) were mild cases, 6,875 (3.04 percent) were asymptomatic, 2,971 (1.31 percent) were moderate cases, 1,509 (0.67 percent) were severe cases, and 309 (0.14 percent) were critical cases.
COVID-related deaths increased by 74, resulting in a total of 53,736 fatalities. This is the sixth straight day that the daily death toll has remained below 100, the ABS-CBN IRG said. Of these newly reported deaths, 69 occurred this month, 1 in October, 1 in July, 1 in May, 1 in July, and 1 in April.
There were 22,014 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 3,213,190. This is the lowest figure since Jan. 21, when 16,385 recoveries were announced, the research group said. Thirty-seven duplicates, including 17 recoveries and 2 deaths, were removed from the total case count while 26 cases previously tagged as recuperations were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.
Two laboratories, which contribute on average 0.3 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 41 percent and 49 percent, respectively.
Earlier the DOH said 'omicron' had become the common variant in the Philippines, with the "stealth" omicron subvariant found to be more prevalent in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing, according to the DOH. Of the 618 more cases of the highly transmissible variant, 13 cases remain active, two have died, 560 were tagged as recovered, and the outcome of 43 cases were still being verified, the DOH said. Majority of the local cases had addresses in Metro Manila.
Despite the decline in virus cases, the capital region is not yet ready to deescalate to Alert Level 2, said Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians. The DOH earlier flagged a "sustained increase" in cases in Visayas and Mindanao at 87.35 percent and 164.72 percent, respectively, in the previous week.