MANILA (UPDATED) — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported 1,046 additional coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases — 46 from recently tested individuals and 1,000 from recently validated test results.
This brought the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 16,634.
The DOH also recorded 122 new recovered patients or a total of 3,720 recoveries. New deaths were at 21, bringing the total number of fatalities to 942 so far.
The new classification of confirmed cases was released on Friday after the recent spike of new cases prompted the DOH to explain that they included older cases that who were only recently validated by its Epidemiology Bureau.
“Kung noon ang pinapakita namin ay ang simpleng bilang lang ng mga pumapasok at nava-validate na kaso ng Epidemiology Bureau, simula po ngayon ay hahatiin namin ang mga numero upang ilan sa mga numerong ito ay fresh o newly validated case kada araw at ihihiwalay na rin namin kada araw kung ilan ang mga late o mula lamang sa delayed reporting,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire during a televised briefing on Friday.
(If we used to show the simple count of incoming cases validated by the Epidemiology Bureau, starting to day we will show a breakdown of the numbers to show those that are fresh or newly validated cases per day and we will separate the number of those that are late or are from delayed reporting.)
The DOH reported increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases starting with 350 cases on Tuesday, 380 cases on Wednesday, and 539 cases on Thursday, prompting some to worry about a further spike in cases when Metro Manila and other parts of the country ease their restrictions once placed under a general community quarantine.
But Vergeire said the spike in confirmed cases was because of improved validation processes and the hiring of additional encoders and not because of the faster spread of the disease.
Vergeire earlier told media that it takes an average of 3 days to validate a test result. Validation is required to ensure that there is no double counting of cases. It also ensures that all the information recorded about the patient is accurate.
The delay in the validation process in the past has resulted in a widening gap between the number of people who tested positive and confirmed cases. The gap reached around 7,000, which means a total of 7,000 test results were still waiting to be validated.
The recent spike in cases also coincided with the department’s bolstered efforts to reduce backlogs in testing. Vergeire said on Friday evening that the country’s. COVID-19 laboratories were able to reduce backlogs to just 545 as of 1 p.m.