PH registers 2,646 new cases of COVID; 4.3% positivity rate

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People flock to the open spaces of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on November 6, 2021. Several Filipinos stepped out on the first weekend since restrictions were relaxed to Alert Level 2, allowing all ages to enter shopping centers and public places. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) – The Philippines reported 2,646 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the ninth consecutive day that infections have fallen below 3,000, according to health department data.

The country’s additional cases for the day are the highest in four days, or since Nov. 6, when the country recorded 2,651, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.

Of the country’s 2,809,311 cumulative cases, 29,138 or 1% were active infections, according to the latest bulletin from the Department of Health (DOH).

This is the lowest for more than 8 months or since February 28, when 27,785 active cases were recorded, the ABS-CBN investigation and research group said, citing DOH data that was adjusted for duplicate and reclassified cases.

The DOH also said the country’s positivity rate was 4.3%, based on the results of testing samples of 35,772 people on November 8, Monday. This is the first time since Jan.31 of this year that it has fallen below 5%, and it is the lowest in the Philippines since Dec.14, 2020, according to the head of data analysis ABS- CBN, Edson Guido.

The World Health Organization (WHO) benchmark for positivity rate is 5% or less for at least two weeks. A relatively high rate means more people should be tested for the coronavirus.

COVID-related deaths increased from 99 to 44,665, making it the third day in a row that the daily death toll has remained below 100, the research group said.

There were 4,029 more recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,735,508. This is the highest tally in 4 days, or since November 6, when the country recorded 5,130 recoveries, added ABS-CBN IRG.

Twenty-nine duplicates were removed from the total number of cases, including 20 recoveries and one death, while 84 cases previously marked as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.

Seven laboratories, which on average contribute 15.2% of samples tested and 5.1% of positive cases, were unable to submit their data, the agency added.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was 40% and 42%, respectively.

The capital region could drop to the lowest alert level if viral infections continue to drop, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said earlier.

Metro Manila, home to around 13.5 million people, moved to Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3 from November 5 to 21, allowing more businesses to reopen with up to 50% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated people and 70% outdoor capacity.

The interagency COVID-19 task force is expected to issue its recommendation on Thursday on lifting the mandatory use of face shields in certain areas, the DOH said. The equipment is said to provide additional protection against the virus, but this has long been debated.

A 3-day national vaccination campaign to vaccinate 15 million people is planned from November 29 to December 1, said Tsar’s Vaccine Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

More than 29.4 million people in the country are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while more than 34.7 million others have received their first dose, based on the follow-up of the ABS-CBN IRG .

Some 230,357 minors received their first vaccine, with 0.10% of adverse events recorded, Under Secretary of Health Maria Rosario Vergeire said earlier.

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