MANILA — The Department of Health reported 280 “fresh cases” of COVID-19 in the Philippines on Tuesday, with total recorded cases rising to nearly 23,000.
Fresh cases refer to patients whose test results were released and subsequently validated in the last 3 days. Meanwhile, late cases refer to patients whose test results were released more than 3 days ago but were only validated recently.
Late cases for Tuesday reached 238. This brings the total additional cases to 518, raising the total coronavirus cases in the country to 22,992.
Of the 280 fresh cases, 61 are from the National Capital Region, 82 are from Region 7, and 115 are from other regions. There are also 22 Filipino repatriates.
This is the 5th straight day that fresh cases from Region 7 or Central Visayas exceeded that of NCR.
Meanwhile, of the 238 late cases, 89 are from NCR, 4 are from Region 7 and 142 are from other regions. There are also 3 repatriates.
The DOH also reported 99 new recovered patients or a total of 4,736 recoveries.
Meanwhile, new deaths were at 6, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities to 1,017.
The DOH did not give any explanation for the numbers and the seeming continued increase in fresh cases in NCR and Region 7.
In the past 3 days, the country had logged over 300 fresh cases daily.
On Tuesday morning, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau is looking into the spike in fresh cases, especially those in Region 7.
During the last 6 days, over 100 fresh cases were being recorded daily in Region 7 or Central Visayas, including Cebu, where several COVID-19 clusters have been reported in detention facilities and communities.
But Vergeire said the fresh cases may include testing backlogs and patients who sought medical help much later. She said this is because the date of the onset of illness of the fresh cases were far from the release date of test results. This is why, she claimed, that the recent increase in cases may not mean that the virus is spreading further in the country.
Vergeire said DOH’s experts on data analytics are already studying the figures to help the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases come up with its decisions on whether to further relax restrictions in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Metro Manila and other earlier hotspots are now under general community quarantine, where businesses have been allowed to reopen and public transport have resumed limited operations. The rest of the country is under modified GCQ.
She also emphasized that the two other figures that matter — critical care utilization rate and the doubling time of cases — are so far looking good.
An expert earlier said, however, that the country will only see the effect of the transition to a general community quarantine two weeks after it was implemented on June 1. This is because the incubation period of the virus can be up to 14 days.
Worldwide, people who contracted the COVID-19 virus reached 7.1 million on Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of this number, almost 3.3 million have already recovered while 406,000 have died.