MANILA—The health department on Saturday attributed the relatively high number of COVID-19 deaths in the past 2 weeks to the fatalities being reported outside the capital region, noting that the agency is monitoring the spike.
In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also pointed out that the relatively high number of recovered cases turning out as fatalities was due to the delayed verification of the agency's local and regional offices.
Vergeire explained that such a circumstance could happen, as officials tag mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients as recovered after the 10 to 14-day period, and they return this data to local governments to have them validated.
" 'Yung ating cases and deaths, nag-shift po siya, makikita po natin na bagamat sa NCR may mga naitatalang namamatay because of COVID-19 but we are seeing a rise in the number of deaths in other regions of the country as well," Vergeire said without elaborating which areas in the country recorded the most recent deaths.
(Our cases and deaths have shifted. While the NCR recorded new deaths, we are seeing a rise in the number of deaths in other regions of the country as well)
"Minsan, na-tag mo as recovered as initial, but upon checking at medyo na-delay ang pagva-validate ng local government, sina-submit sa amin na 'yun pa lang isang na-tag nila as recovered, died already, kaya po nagkakaroon ng ganitong datos," she added.
(Sometimes you already tagged the case as initially recovered, but upon checking, the validation of the local government was already delayed -- the case they reported as recovered died already, that's why we have this data.)
More than a half or most of the daily deaths registered in the past 2 weeks were cases "previously tagged as recoveries [but] were reclassified as deaths."
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido, meanwhile, said Friday's case fatality rate (CFR) was at 1.72 percent, highest since April 16.
The DOH said that the CFR is computed based on the number of deaths from the specific disease over the number of confirmed cases "with outcomes."
"The CFR's denominator is the number of cases, which means that while cases are increasing, deaths are increasing even faster," Guido said.
"This is happening at a time when the number of cases is on an uptrend."
Except for Tuesday, the country had logged over 100 fatalities since May 26.
The Philippines breached 21,000 fatalities on Tuesday, exactly a week after breaching the 20,000-mark.
The DOH said it is also keeping an eye on rising COVID-19 cases outside the capital region to prevent overwhelming the provinces' health care capacity.
"Ito po ay ating binabantayan maigi, lalo na po yung capacity ng ating mga ospital dito sa mga piling lugar na ito, and we are providing our utmost assistance at matulungan natin sila, at di po ma-overwhelm ang kanilang mga lugar," Vergeire said.
(We are monitoring this, most especially the capacity of our hospitals in the said areas, so their health care system won't be overwhelmed.)
The Philippines has so far tallied 1.26 million COVID-19 cases, of which some 59,000 are considered active carriers of the disease.
The virus claimed 21,732 lives in the country.