PH logs over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases as gov't claims improved pandemic response

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 05:34 PM | Updated as of Jul 15 2020 06:53 PM

The MRT-3 resumes operations on a limited capacity on July 13, 2020. The MRT-3 suspended operations when 281 personnel contracted COVID-19, including depot and station personnel. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday reported over 1,000 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, as its chief flip-flopped on statements about flattening the curve. 

The Philippines registered 1,392 additional COVID-19 cases, alongside announcement of major hospitals that they were now in full capacity dealing with respiratory illness. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 58,850.

Starting July 3, the number of additional cases has been higher than 1,500, except on Monday and Tuesday. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters on Wednesday morning that the decline for those two days was because of late reported by government-accredited laboratories.

Despite the increase in cases in areas such as the National Capital Region, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III claimed on Wednesday that the country was already flattening the curve or improving its situation. However, he later corrected himself that the flattening happened in April but cases increased again with the easing of the lockdowns in various parts of the country.

Of the additional cases on Wednesday, 512 are “fresh cases,” which refer to test results released within the last 3 days, and 880 are “late cases," or those released at least four days ago.

Of the total additional cases, which were reported by 73 out of 82 laboratories, 708 are from the NCR, 198 from Cebu province, 86 from Iloilo, 64 from Laguna and 46 from Cavite.

The NCR, Region 7 and Region 4A have been identified as areas showing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The DOH also reported 517 additional recovered patients or a total of 20,976 recoveries. Additional recoveries have also seen a spike since the weekend because of data reconciliation efforts of the DOH with local government units.

Vergeire also said on Wednesday morning that besides discovering cases that were already recovered but not reported to their central list, the department also made “statistical imputations” on cases that were not tagged as recovered or died. This is among the reasons why the number of recoveries had increased, she said.

There are also 11 additional COVID-related deaths or a total of 1,614. Five of those occurred in July and 6 happened in June.

The relatively low number of deaths has been cited by the government as a sign that the COVID-19 situation in the country is improving despite the increase in cases in NCR and other areas such as Region 7.

The majority (8 out of 11) of additional deaths were from the NCR, and Regions 3, 4A and 9 reported 1 death each.

“Ayon sa ating datos 4 out of 11 deaths ay may edad 1, 26, 41 at 50. Samantalang 7 out of 11 ay aged 60 years and above,” Vergeire said during a televised briefing. She encouraged the elderly to be extra careful by protecting themselves from the spread of the disease.

(Based on our data, 4 out of 11 deaths are aged 1, 26, 41 and 50. Meanwhile, 7 out of 11 are aged 60 years and above.)

This brings the total number of active cases or those who have yet to recover to 36,260. This is slightly higher than the last 2 days.

Of the active cases, 90.6% have mild symptoms, 8.6% are asymptomatic, 0.4% have severe symptoms while 0.5% are in critical condition.

The DOH noted that 87 duplicate cases were removed from the total count.

“The total cases reported may be subject to change as these numbers undergo constant cleaning and validation,” the DOH said in its note.