MANILA (UPDATE)—The Philippines on Saturday confirmed 34 new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the largest-single day increase of infection in the country, raising the total number of patients afflicted with the illness to 98.
In a statement, the DOH said details of the new cases "are currently being validated by our teams and will be provided to the public as soon as the information is available and verified by the Department."
The department said additional cases are also being verified.
The fresh information came after the health department confirmed 3 more deaths from the virus Saturday, bringing the total death toll to 8.
The Philippines is currently under a state of public health emergency, with the response alert at Code Red, Sub-level 2 following "sustained community transmission."
Metro Manila is set to go under community quarantine from Sunday, March 15, to Tuesday, April 14, as government hoped to contain the outbreak.
PHILIPPINE HEART CENTER
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City would be limiting its services to accommodate in-patient and emergency cases only after several of its health personnel were exposed to a COVID-19 patient.
One of the fatalities -- a 88-year-old Filipina from Pasig City -- died on March 12 due to acute respiratory failure in the Philippine Heart Center.
The patient, tagged as PH37 or patient 37, had no known recent travel history.
"Prior to the confirmation of the PH37’s diagnosis, healthcare workers were managing the case as a non-communicable case and were unable to wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE)," the DOH said.
As of Saturday afternoon, 12 health workers and non-health personnel were considered as patients under monitoring (PUIs).
Six others who were considered as persons under monitoring (PUMs) are still quarantined inside the facility.
"Services in the Outpatient Department were temporarily stopped last March 11 and are expected to reopen on March 16. The Catheterization Laboratory where PH37 had her procedure was also closed and disinfected. Hospital services for Z-benefit packages and elective cases are temporarily cancelled until further notice," DOH said.
Meanwhile, several health workers at the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City were also reported to have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
"DOH is still verifying data on the exact figures and the updated conditions of the health workers," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 132,000 and killed nearly 5,000 in 122 countries and territories, latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.