PH logs 1,901 new COVID-19 cases, reported deaths highest in over 5 months

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2021 04:16 PM | Updated as of Feb 19 2021 04:51 PM

The Medical City in Pasig City simulates the flow of COVID-19 vaccination and possible unique scenarios in a drill on February 18, 2021, as the hospital awaits the arrival of the vaccines for its health care workers and allied partners. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) — The Philippines posted 1,901 more COVID-19 cases on Friday, with the health department reporting the highest number of deaths in over 5 months at 157. 

This, as the health agency is also raising its guard on the “mutations of concern” recently detected in Central Visayas, the health implications of which remain to be uncertain. 

The day’s new cases raised the country’s total number of infections to 557,058. The daily tally, however, does not include results from 4 laboratories that failed to send data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System on Thursday. 

This is also the 7th straight day that additional COVID-19 cases were less than 2,000.

The DOH recorded 157 more fatalities after the department reclassified as deaths 120 people initially tagged as recovered cases. This pushed the country’s death toll due to the virus to 11,829. 

According to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG), the day's recorded deaths was the highest in a single day since Sept. 14, when 259 deaths were announced.

This was also the 5th highest number of deaths announced in a single day, the IRG noted. 

ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido, meanwhile, pointed out that the 2.12 percent fatality rate was the highest since July 31 last year. 

Active cases were at 32,440, according to the Department of Health (DOH), accounting for 5.8 percent of the total recorded cases in the country. Some 94.5 percent of the patients still infected with the novel coronavirus are asymptomatic or are experiencing mild symptoms. 

Recoveries, meanwhile, went up by 537 to 512,789. 

DOH noted in its bulletin that 6 cases were removed from the total number of cases, of which 3 were recoveries while 1 was a fatality. 

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The DOH earlier admitted that the high number of deaths recorded in late January and early February were the result of data harmonization with the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Data from the health department has been showing late records. In Jan. 28, ABS-CBN News found that almost 40 percent of the additional COVID-related fatalities between January 20 to 27, 2021 occurred in July and August last year. 

There were even a few late reports from March to May, 2020, 15 in June and more than 20 fatalities each from September to December. 

In October last year, ABS-CBN News reported on how 15,600 COVID-19 cases were recorded months late.

MUTATIONS IN CENTRAL VISAYAS 

Experts earlier in the day said they are yet to determine the presence of a possible Philippine variant of COVID-19 following the detection of 2 mutations of the virus in Region 7. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque, meanwhile, pointed out that the agency had yet to confirm if the mutations would have significant public health implications.

The country has also reported a total of 44 cases of the more transmissible UK COVID-19 variant.