Home Editors' Picks PHL’s positivity rate hits 26.5% with 5,434 new COVID-19 cases

PHL’s positivity rate hits 26.5% with 5,434 new COVID-19 cases

HEALTH workers process the requirements of people who will undergo RT-PCR testing at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on Jan. 4. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE PHILIPPINES posted 5,434 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, bringing the total to 2.86 million.

The Health department said 26.5% of 25,704 samples on Jan. 2 tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), way above the 5% benchmark set by the World Health Organization.

All 310 licensed laboratories operated on Jan. 2, the department said. However, 16 labs did not submit data.

“Based on data in the last 14 days, the 16 labs contribute, on average, 2.1% of samples tested and 1.8% of positive individuals.”

The country’s death toll from the coronavirus hit 51,604 after 18 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 611 to 2.78 million, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a bulletin.

There were 29,809 active cases, 889 of which did not show symptoms, 24,026 were mild, 3,020 were moderate, 1,546 were severe, and 328 were critical.

The agency said 99% of the reported cases occurred from Dec. 22 to Jan. 4.

The top regions with new cases in the recent two weeks were Metro Manila with 3,826 cases, Calabarzon with 864, and Central Luzon with 333.

DoH said 11% of the reported deaths occurred in Jan. 2022, 44% in Dec. 2021, 11% in Nov. 2021, 17% in Oct. 2021, 6% in Aug. 2021, and 11% in July 2021.

The agency said 13 duplicates, logged as recoveries, were removed from the Friday tally.

It said 121 patients had tested negative and were removed from the tally. Of these, 119 were recoveries. It added that 14 recoveries were relisted as deaths.

On healthcare capacity, the department said 26% of intensive care units in the Philippines were occupied, while the rate for Metro Manila was 35%.

The hospital bed occupancy in the capital region, which accounted for 31.9% of the country’s economic output last year, increased to 29% from 17% in seven days or from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2, according to local research group OCTA.

During the same period, the occupancy rate for intensive care units for COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila increased to 29% from 21%.

“Hospital bed occupancy seems to be increasing at a faster rate compared to ICU occupancy,” OCTA said. “Both hospital bed occupancy and ICU occupancy are still at very low level at this time.”

The government raised the virus alert in Metro Manila to level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza