The Philippines reported Friday an all-time high of 40 percent positivity rate and 21,819 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 2,910,664.
Earlier on, the government’s initial projections showed the number of new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines doubled every two days.
“We see that the case doubling time is 2.2 days. This means that every two days, we see that the number of cases is doubled,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at the Palace briefing.
This data indicates that the Omicron variant may be five to six times more transmissible, Vergeire said.
The 21,819 new cases are the highest since September 12 last year, where the country logged 21,411 new infections. On September 11, the Philippines logged a record-high 26,303 infections.
The positivity rate of 40 percent was based on samples of 70,049 tested individuals on January 5.
Of the 21,819 reported cases yesterday, 21,656 (99 percent) occurred within the last 14 days, from December 25 to January 7, 2022.
The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were National Capital Region (Metro Manila), with 13,634 or 63 percent, Region 4-A (CALABARZON), with 4,129 or 19 percent, and Region 3 (Central Luzon) with 2,084 or 10 percent.
All labs were operational, and 10 laboratories were not able to submit their data on time. Based on data in the last 14 days, the 10 laboratories contribute, on average, 0.8 percent of samples tested and 1.5 percent of positive individuals, the DOH reported.
The DOH also reported 129 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 51,871.
Of the 129 deaths, eight occurred in January 2022 (6 percent), 34 in December 2021 (26 percent), 14 in November 2021 (11 percent), 26 in October 2021 (20 percent), 32 in September 2021 (25 percent), 10 in August 2021 (8 percent), four in July 2021 (3 percent), and one in April 2021 (1 percent) 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 DOH reported.
The DOH also reported 973 new recoveries, bringing the total recoveries to 2,781,424.
It reported 77,369 active cases, of which 2,438 were asymptomatic; 70,321 mild; 2,837 moderate; 1,461 severe; and 312 critical.
The DOH said that, nationwide, 32 percent of ICU beds, 35 percent of isolation beds, 31 percent of ward beds, and 14 percent of ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 48 percent of ICU beds, 47 percent of isolation beds, 59 percent of ward beds, and 20 percent of ventilators, were in use.
A total 72 duplicates were removed from the total case count. Of these, 51 are recoveries and one is a death case.
Moreover, 111 cases that were previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation.
Meanwhile, Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, said it took about four weeks for the surge to die down in South Africa.
“As long as we are able to maintain our healthcare workers’ component and we keep our healthcare workforce healthy, and everyone cooperates, we can minimize deaths and hospitalizations within four weeks,” Salvana said.
According to Vergeire, though the Philippines could not stop the transmission all at once, the country may stop the further increase of cases in the following weeks.
When questioned if cases might increase to 20,000 to 30,000 by next week and then die down by the end of the month, Health Secretary
Francisco Duque III said it was possible.
“But we should be careful. Because I don’t want to say that it’s going to be fast and then the people will be complacent. That will be difficult,” Duque told Super Radyo dzBB.
“We still don’t know a lot of things about Omicron,” Duque said.