PH logs 959 new COVID-19 cases; DOH notes lower testing during New Year's

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 04 2021 04:17 PM | Updated as of Jan 04 2021 08:05 PM

Healthworkers attend to returning Manila City residents at the San Andres Quarantine Facility on January 4, 2021. Residents of the city who spent the holidays outside Metro Manila are required by the local government to undergo RT-PCR tests before returning to their respective homes. Local authorities have designated 6 quarantine facilities within the city to accommodate returnees for swab tests in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday reported 959 new COVID-19 cases, much lower than the usual daily tally, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the Philippines to 478,761.

The Department of Health has noted a decrease in the number of cases reported today, at 959 new cases. This is due to a decrease in the number of patients seen in COVID-19 laboratories during the New Year,” the DOH said in its note to the media.

Three labs were unable to submit their test results on time.

Topping the list of areas with the most number of new cases are Quezon City with 73, Davao City with 70, Rizal with 58, Agusan del Sur with 44, and Laguna with 41.

The DOH warned that “an increase in cases in the coming weeks is still possible.”


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There were some days in December when the number of new cases dipped to below 1,000. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday attributed this to the closure of some laboratories during the holidays and the “health-seeking behavior” of Filipinos.

“Ang output of laboratories, zero talaga. Walang pumupuntang pasyente, walang specimen na nasa-submit,” she said.

(The output of laboratories were really zero. There were no patients, no specimen being submitted.)

Vergeire said that before the holiday season, the laboratory submissions nationwide averaged 36,000 per day. But it went down to 22,000 per day during the holiday.

The health official said if there will be a surge, which she hopes would not happen, it might be in mid-January when laboratories are fully operational.

“The DOH continues to assess the extent of the effects of the holiday season on COVID-19 transmission,” it said, adding that people should not be complacent.

Meanwhile, six additional COVID-related fatalities were reported, raising the death toll to 9,263.

There are also 26 additional recovered patients, or a total of 448,279 recoveries.

Of the 21,219 active cases, 81.7% have mild symptoms, 7.9% are asymptomatic, 6.4% are in critical condition, 3.4% have severe symptoms, and 0.57% have moderate symptoms.

The DOH removed 5 cases, 4 of which were tagged as recovered, from the official tally due to duplicate entries. There was also 1 recovered case that turned out to be a fatality.

Since the start of the pandemic, 85.1 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, more than 1.8 million have died and almost 47.9 million have recovered.

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