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Philippines records 3,617 new COVID-19 infections on New Year’s Day

The Philippines on Saturday recorded 3,617 new COVID-19 infections at the start of the New Year.

According to the Department of Health'S (DOH)’s latest bulletin, this brings the total nationwide COVID-19 tally to 2,847,486.

The country's active case count is 17,374 of which 673 are asymptomatic, 11,603 are mild, 3,124 are moderate, 1,635 are severe, and 339 are in critical condition.

The DOH said the top regions with most cases in the recent two weeks were the National Capital Region (NCR) with 2,526 or 70%, followed by Region 4-A with 570 or 16%, and Region 3 with 199 or 6%.

At least 468 more patients recovered from the viral disease, bringing the total to 2,778,567.

The death toll climbed to 51,545 with 43 new fatalities.

Of the 43 deaths, five occurred in December, four in November, seven in October, 14 in September, six in August, two in July, three in June 2021, while one in November and one in August last 2021 “due to late encoding of death information to COVIDKaya.”

The Philippines’ COVID-19 positivity rate increased at 14.8%, which is higher than the World Health Organization's requirement target of less than 5% positivity rate.

The total conducted COVID-19 tests were 29,239.

The data also showed that 20% of 3,500 intensive care unit (ICU) beds for COVID-19 patients nationwide are in use.

At least 13% of the 12,100 ward beds in the country were utilized, while 24% of the 3,700 ward beds in the NCR were in use.

The DOH said two laboratories were not operational since December 30, while six laboratories failed to submit data to the COVID-19 Document Repository System.

The Health Department reported 15 duplicates that were removed from the total case count. Of these, seven are recoveries and two are deaths.

In addition, at least 41 cases that were previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases placed NCR under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15, 2022 following the sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday that the highly transmissible Omicron variant may already be responsible for the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

The country has detected 14 Omicron variant cases, including three local cases. — DVM, GMA News