MANILA (UPDATE) — The number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 in the Philippines has reached 3,000 after the Department of Health reported Thursday 68 new recoveries.
The figure accounts for around 22 percent of the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases which was up by 213 to 13,434.
With 4 new COVID-related fatalities that raised the death toll to 846 fatalities, the country's active cases of the disease stood at 9,588.
This means that 71.37% of all those infected by COVID-19 in the country are still in hospitals or are undergoing home quarantine.
Of the 213 new cases, 98 (46%) are from the National Capital Region, another 98 (46%) are from Central Visayas or Region 7, and 17 (8%) are from different other regions.
Metro Manila, large parts of Central Luzon and Laguna province are under modified enhanced community quarantine until May 31, in a bid to slow down the spread of the respiratory disease as these areas were considered high-risk.
Meanwhile, Cebu City and its neighboring city of Mandaue remained under ECQ. Earlier this month, new COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas surpassed that of the National Capital Region because of outbreaks inside jails and some villages.
“We have also been keeping tabs of the areas with clustering of cases,” Dr. Beverly Ho, director of the Department of Health Promotion and Communications Service, said during a televised briefing. “These include 24 health facilities, 17 jails or prisons, 34 communities, and 3 workplaces for which in the past outbreaks have happened.”
Ho noted only a few cases were recorded recently from prisons and the 3 villages being monitored in Cebu. “There were no new cases in hospitals and health facilities and workplaces,” she said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recently said that the country is now on its second wave of the outbreak since it was able to contain the first wave, which involved 3 Chinese nationals.
But the Presidential palace said that as far as it is concerned, the country is still on its first wave as the government struggles to prevent another major wave or spike in cases from happening.
During the briefing, Ho explained why the Philippines has a relatively low recovery rate compared to other countries.
“That’s because our current recoveries are based on the strict definition that confirmed COVID-19 patients need to have repeat RT-PCR tests,” she said.
“In the coming days, we hope to provide the public with the statistics of patients who have clinically recovered or are symptom-free already but did not get retested anymore unlike those admitted in hospitals.”
Under the current protocol of the DOH, patients who no longer have symptoms can be discharged from the hospital, especially if their x-ray or CT scan results show that they have recovered. They will be tested again after another 14-day quarantine. Others with mild symptoms are allowed to just stay at home to undergo self-isolation.
However, Ho said some no longer undergo re-testing, making it hard for the DOH to capture the actual number of recoveries in the country.
Ho urged patients who have recuperated to coordinate with their local health departments so they may be officially counted as recovered.
Five million people across the world have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 1.9 million have already recovered and more than 328,000 who have died.