Philippines coronavirus cases climb further over 57,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines climbed further to 57,006 on Monday, July 13, after 836 new cases were reported nationwide.

The newly-reported cases include 749 fresh cases and 87 late cases. Fresh cases cover tests results released to patients in the last 3 days, while late cases refer to results released to patients 4 or more days ago. 

Before Monday, the Department of Health (DOH)reported more than 1,000 confirmed coronavirus infections every day for 10 days. On Sunday, July 12, health officials failed to deliver the daily updates on the number of cases – a first since the outbreak started in January. Officials had attributed the delay to a “significant volume of data gathered,” which kept its data team validating numbers past midnight.

Monday’s latest count of 57,006 confirmed cases brings the number of infections in the country nearer to the 60,000 cases University of the Philippines researchers projected the country could reach by the end of July. 

Meanwhile, the number of deaths grew to 1,599, following 65 new fatalities reported. The 65 deaths included 54 that took place before June, and 9 in July. Another two happened in May.  

On Sunday, the DOH tallied the highest number of deaths reported in a single day, which it attributed to more data coming from local government units (LGUs).

The DOH also reported a growth in recoveries, as 4,325 new recoveries pushed the total to 20,371 as of Monday. Of the 4,325 recoveries, 282 were reported on Monday while the rest spanned March to May.  

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier advised the public to expect an increase in deaths and recoveries reported as the health department was reconciling its data with LGUs.  

Virus still spreading 

On the ground, the increase in cases has added a strain on hospitals. In Metro Manila, at least 11 hospitals earlier announced the number of beds allocated for coronavirus patients in their intensive care units (ICU) had reached full capacity.  

On Monday, Makati Medical Center said it also reached capacity while the St Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City and Global City said they were at full capacity in allocated COVID-19 ICU beds. 

Vergeire said the reproductive number nationwide increased slightly to 1.23 as of Monday, compared to 1.09 during the previous week. The reproductive number accounts for the number of people one confirmed COVID-19 case can infect. 

The increase, she added, was on account of the additional cases seen in Metro Manila and Cebu City. Despite this, Vergeire maintained the nationwide reproduction number was still below the global average of 2 to 3. Experts urge this figure to be less than 1 to say the spread of the virus is under control. 

Vergeire assured the public the increase in cases was gradual enough that the country’s health care system was still able to address the additional case load. Case doubling time for the country lengthened to 8.18 days as of July 12, compared to 7.95 days as of July 3. 

The same trend, she said, was seen in Metro Manila, where case doubling time slowed down to 8.89 vs 8.39, and in Cebu City, where it was now at 8.25 days against 7.95 days in the beginning of July.

The DOH earlier directed both private and public hospitals to meet the mandatory 30% allocation of its facilities to treat COVID-19 patients and to be prepared to set aside 20% in case of a surge. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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