After 8 weeks without a health worker death, PH logs 1 new COVID-related fatality

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2021 09:19 PM

MANILA — There are now 77 health workers in the Philippines who have died from COVID-19, according to the latest Department of Health data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG).

Before the latest fatality was recorded on Saturday, January 16, the Philippines had nearly 8 weeks of zero deaths for health care workers.

“This (Nov. 22, 2020 to Jan. 15, 2021) was the longest interval that the DOH announced no new COVID-19 deaths among health workers.” the ABS-CBN IRG said.

The DOH has yet to confirm the profession of the latest fatality although it provided a breakdown of the 77 deaths:

  • 31 were physicians
  • 18 were nurses
  • 8 admin staffs 
  • 4 utility staffs
  • 3 barangay health workers
  • 2 nursing assistants
  • 1 pharmacist
  • 1 caregiver
  • 1 dietary staff
  • 1 hospital employee
  • 7 healthcare workers, whose professions were not indicated in the Beat COVID-19 Today Situationer

The ABS-CBN IRG said there has been a “dramatic decline” in deaths among health workers since September, when the DOH announced 21 deaths in a month. Although the DOH corrected the figure later on, saying the fatalities were from previous months. 

The monthly tally of deaths went down to 8 in October, 7 in November and no deaths in December. 

Doctors still made up the biggest portion of fatalities at 40%.

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However, COVID-19 cases among health workers continued to rise, with those in the sector still comprising 3% of total COVID-19 cases in the country.

The total cases reached 14,041 on January 16, with only 265 left as active cases.

Of the active cases, more than half had mild symptoms and 35% were asymptomatic. A total of 15 health workers had severe symptoms, 11 were in critical condition and 1 had moderate symptoms.