PH confirms 5,676 new COVID-19 cases as DOH probes 'local' Delta variant

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2021 04:00 PM

PH confirms 5,676 new COVID-19 cases as DOH probes 'local' Delta variant 1
Families stroll along the Manila baywalk on July 11, 2021. The Inter-Agency Task Force on COVId-19 recently allowed children ages five and up are to go outdoors, except in facilities such as malls, in areas under GCQ, GCQ with restrictions, and MGCQ. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines on Friday tallied 5,676 more COVID-19 infections, as the health department investigates the local cases of the more contagious Delta variant reported in some parts of the country. 

Based on the Department of Health's (DOH) bulletin, the country's total recorded cases stood at 1,496,328, with active cases reaching 48,480 or 3.2 percent of the cumulative total. 

The positivity rate is at 11 percent, based on the testing results of 51,384 individuals who got screened for the virus on Wednesday. 

The World Health Organization's benchmark for positivity rate is 5 percent for at least 2 weeks. A high percentage means more testing should be done, US-based Johns Hopkins University had said. 

There were also 162 newly-reported deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 26,476. The case fatality rate is at 1.77 percent. 

Majority or 116 of the day's fresh deaths were first classified as recoveries, the DOH noted. 

Recoveries, meanwhile, rose to 1,421,372 with 2,670 additional recuperations. 

The cumulative number of recoveries accounts for 95 percent of the running total. 

However, a total of 28 cases initially classified as recoveries turned out to be active cases. 

Thirteen duplicates, 10 of which were recoveries, have been excluded from the case tally. 

Three laboratories failed to submit data on time. 

DELTA VARIANT THREAT

Earlier, the DOH confirmed 16 more cases of the Delta variant, most of which were what they call "local cases." A carrier had died while the rest have already recovered, authorities said. 

The agency pointed out that it is still investigating if the local cases have already led to local transmissions.

On Thursday night, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire committed that the government would try to handle over 50,000 new COVID-19 cases during the worst case scenario. 

"Kakayanin po. Hindi naman namin puwedeng pabayaan ang population. Kakayanin natin. Sa ngayon po, ang estado natin, pag umabot tayo sa 10,000 na peak na kaso noong March and April, base sa mga improvements natin kakayanin," Vergeire said when asked if the Philippines could handle the 5-digit fresh coronavirus infections. 

(We can do it. We cannot neglect our population. Right now, we were able to handle 10,000 peak cases in March and April. Based on our improvements, we can do it.)
 
Indonesia is grappling with a new surge of infections driven by the presence of the Delta variant, increased mobility, and religious gatherings. 

Vergeire said being vaccinated against the respiratory disease is key to prevent being infected with the virus and halt the spread of new variants. 

Government data collated by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group showed at least 4 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 as of Wednesday, while more than 10 million already received their first jab.

The country recorded more than 15,000 fresh novel coronavirus in early April during the peak of the surge, which had stretched health care capacity in the capital region and surrounding provinces. 

The health agency had earlier admitted the limitations in the country's genome sequencing capabilities, which is key to detect the presence of virus variants in some testing samples. 

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