COVID-19 cases in PH up by 140; recoveries now at 654

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 04:16 PM | Updated as of Apr 21 2020 07:23 PM

A health worker gets disinfected before entering the San Juan COVID-19 Kalinga Center on April 19, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday announced 140 new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

According to the DOH bulletin, there are 6,599 cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country since the start of the epidemic.

It also reported 41 new recovered patients and 9 new fatalities.

Of the total number of cases, 654 have recovered and 437 have died.

“Kasama sa naitalang naka-recover ay ang mga pasyenteng naka-confine at mga pasyenteng may mga positive mild and asymptomatic cases na naka-recover mula sa kanilang self-isolation and home quarantine,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing. 

(Included in the tally of recoveries are patients who were confined and patients who were positive, but were considered mild and asymptomatic cases and have recovered from their self-isolation and home quarantine.)

The number of recoveries continues to increase, more than the rate of deaths since the DOH started including patients who have recovered from their home quarantine.

Data from DOH. Graph from ABS-CBN Data Analytics

As of Monday, the Philippines has tested 58,072 individuals. Of this number 7,547 or 13% tested positive and 50,471 or 86.91% tested negative.

Vergeire said the number of positive tests remains higher than confirmed cases because of case validation and processing. 

“Alam naman natin na kapag tayo ay na-admit, as positive or confirmed case, maaaring magkakaroon din tayo ng repeat test, kaya mas mataas ang number of test kesa sa number of confirmed or positive cases,” she said.

(We know that if we are admitted as a positive or a confirmed case, we can still undergo repeat tests, that is why the number of tests is higher than the number of confirmed or positive cases.)

Vergeire explained that the rate of COVID-19 cases doubling has been reduced.

“Kung dati rati, sa loob ng 3 araw dumodoble na ang mga kaso, ngayon mas matagal na ito. Halos 5 araw na ang average,” she said.

(If in the past the number of cases doubled every 3 days, now it takes longer. The average is 5 days.)

She said the DOH wants to see this figure to go up to 30 days, which means that if the Philippines had 6,000 cases by April 20, it should only reach 12,000 cases by May 20.

Vergeire also pointed out that most of the cases are in the National Capital Region. She said it is good news that there are about 30 provinces without COVID-19 cases or have not seen an increase in cases in a long time.

She said the public should not be complacent, though, because such a positive development is not permanent.

Last week, the DOH reported that at least 766 health care workers were infected with COVID-19 because of the government’s revised expanded testing guidelines, designating health workers as part of the vulnerable population, Vergeire said.

“Kasama na sila sa vulnerable group, kaya lalo pa nating na-detect kung sino sa kanila ang naaapektuhan or positibo,” she said.

(They have been included in the vulnerable group, so we are now able to detect who among them were affected or are positive.)

She said that health workers who were exposed to COVID-19 patients will be prioritized under the guidelines, even if they are not senior citizens or have pre-existing conditions. 

Based on the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard, some 2.48 million people from 185 countries have been infected with COVID-19. More than 650,000 have recovered and more than 170,000 have died as of Tuesday 4 p.m.