Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Department of Health (DOH) has detected an additional 319 Delta coronavirus variant cases, making it the most common lineage in the country.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reported on Monday that there are now 3,027 Delta variant cases or 24.16% of the total samples sequenced.
It overtook the cases of Beta and Alpha variants, which were responsible for the previous case surges in the country.
“The increased proportion of these variant can be attributed to their increased transmissibility,” Vergeire told a media briefing. “However, the sampling methodology also affects these proportions.”
In the latest whole genome sequencing, 85.3% of the 374 samples were found with the feared Delta variant.
It is believed by health experts to be as transmissible as chickenpox — with each infected person able to spread the virus to eight or nine others on average.
The DOH reported 297 local Delta cases, with Cagayan Valley, Caraga, and Calabarzon recording the highest number of cases. Eighteen cases were returning overseas Filipinos, while four cases are undergoing verification.
It also reported 13 more Alpha variant cases and 9 new cases of Beta variant.
Vergeire explained that the low number of samples sequenced were due to the reduced manpower of the Philippine Genome Sequencing since several employees had to undergo quarantine.
18,937 new COVID cases
The DOH announced 18,937 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, while the cumulative death toll approached 37,000.
Up to 2,385,616 people nationwide so far have been infected, with 176,850 or 7.4% currently sick.
Around 92.7% of these active cases are mild, 2.7% asymptomatic, 2.6 % moderate, 1.4% severe, and 0.6% critical.
The DOH said the count excludes data from five non-reporting testing laboratories, which contributed around 1.6% of all samples tested and 1.7% of positive cases over the last 14 days.
The department also confirmed 146 new deaths, of which 53 were erroneously tagged as recoveries in previous updates. These pushed the total fatalities to 36,934.
Meanwhile, 20,171 new survivors brought the recovery count to 2,171,832.
The bulletin also showed the positivity rate was at 26.3%, which means at least 1 in 4 of the 72,770 tests reported on Sept. 18 turned out positive for the coronavirus. This percentage is considered critical by the US nonprofit Covid Act Now.
Earlier in the day, the DOH said the highly contagious Delta variant is now the most common lineage among sequenced samples in the country after it accounted for 24.16% of the total. A single person infected with the variant can spread the virus to around eight or nine others, health authorities said.