MANILA — The Philippines' health department reported Monday an additional 2,124 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 56,259.
The number of COVID-19 recoveries and deaths in the Philippines spiked following the Department of Health’s “data reconciliation efforts” with local government units.
COVID-19 figures for Sunday were also delayed because of this and were released on Monday morning instead.
The additional number of cases for Sunday were the third highest reported in a single day
Of the 2,124 additional cases, 459 came from the National Capital Region, 273 from Cebu province, 71 from Laguna, 35 from Cavite and 28 from Rizal.
The NCR has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Cebu province and its nearby cities have been identified as hotspots due to another spike in cases recently.
Recoveries increased by 2,009, raising the total number to 16,046.
“Like what was mentioned last week, our robust surveillance has led to an increased number of reconciled data on recoveries,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing on Monday morning.
Vergeire explained that this is due to their reconciliation of data with the local government since Saturday, when they reported 804 additional recovered patients.
Direct access to LGU data helps the DOH deliver data that is accurate and timely, she said.
“Ang ating data collection team ay magsasagawa ng data reconciliation every week so maaaring may mga araw na hindi kasing taas ng nai-report natin today ang number of recovered cases,” she also cautioned.
(Our data collection team will conduct data reconciliation every week so there may be days when the number of recovered cases is not as high as reported today.)
However, the number of additional deaths also rose substantially at 162 for Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,534.
Both numbers of additional recovered patients and deaths are considered the highest reported in a single day.
Vergeire explained that only 51 (or 31%) of the 162 additional deaths happened during the month of July while 90 were from the month of June. The remaining 20 were from May and 1 from April.
“Sa mga death sa Hulyo, 18 lamang po ang nangyari sa nakaraang linggo at 33 ang nangyari noon unang linggo ng July,” she added.
(Of the deaths from July, only 18 happened last week and 33 happened during the first week of July.)
Of the 162 deaths, 99 were from Region 7, 37 from NCR, 6 from Region 3, 3 from Region 4A, 2 from Region 8, 2 from Region 9 and 1 from Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). There were also 12 fatalities that had “unspecified regions.”
“We expect more deaths to be reported in the coming days as an effect of our data reconciliation efforts,” she said.
However, Vergeire also said that when plotted on a graph, the trend of deaths is still declining nationwide.
“Makikita na karamihan sa bagong reported deaths ay nangyari mula noong buwan ng Hunyo, at karamihan ay galing sa Region 7 noong nakaraang dulo ng June at simula ng July - kasabay ng ng pagtaas ng kaso at paglagay ng ECQ sa Cebu City,” she explained.
(You can see that most of the newly reported deaths happened in June and most came from Region 7 from the end of June to the start of July, coinciding with the rise in cases and the placing of Cebu City under enhanced community quarantine.)
The DOH has also stopped using the fresh and late cases tags for additional cases, as announced previously. Vergeire said in early July that they will instead show a graph on the date of onset of illness of the patients to reflect the true picture of the outbreak.
Total number of active COVID-19 cases is now at 38,679, with 92.2% considered mild cases.
The data is from the submission of 67 out of 82 COVID-19 laboratories in the country.
In its note, the DOH explained that 87 duplicate cases were removed from the total count of cases.
“The total cases reported may be subject to change as these numbers undergo constant cleaning and validation,” the DOH said.
Vergeire said the data reconciliation efforts with local government included the training of a total of 3,714 users of COVIDKaya, the digital application that allows the centralization of COVID data.
They also requested local government units to update the status of their active cases
In a separate briefing with media on Monday morning, Vergeire explained that they asked for line lists or a master list of COVID-19 cases from their regional offices and that was when they saw additional recoveries and deaths that have not been reported to their central system.
She said the meeting with the regions to verify the information of these additional deaths and recoveries lasted from 1 p.m. to almost midnight on Sunday. She said that by 11:30 p.m., Secretary Francisco Duque III decided to delay the release of the case updates to allow them enough time to analyze it.