Health dep't attributes high figures to data reconciliation
MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines recorded on Thursday 3,954 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, a record-high, single-day tally reported by the government's task force on infectious diseases hours before new quarantine classifications in the country are expected to be announced.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 60 containing the number of additional infections, a copy of which was posted on Twitter by the government's COVID-19 implementing task force.
The Department of Health confirmed the figure, and reported as well an unprecedented 38,075 additional recoveries from the disease, both of which it attributed to "enhanced data reconciliation efforts with local government units through OPLAN RECOVERY."
The country's cumulative total of COVID-19 cases climbed to 89,374, of which, 22,327 are active.
According to the DOH, 1,320 of the additional reported cases are "fresh," which refer to those with test results released within the past 3 days, while 2,634 are "late," or those released at least four days ago. The data were sourced from 80 out of 91 operational laboratories.
Although the high numbers are due to improved data collection, there is still a substantial number of fresh cases. Since the gradual opening up of the economy, the number of new infections, especially in Metro Manila, has been increasing.
Of the additional cases, 1,703 are from the National Capital Region (NCR), 958 are from Cebu province, 177 are from Laguna, 90 are from Rizal, and 87 are from Cavite.
The total number of recoveries, meanwhile, soared to 65,064.
With 23 additional COVID-related fatalities, the death toll stands at 1,983.
One of the additional deaths occurred in April, 3 in June, and 19 this month. Twelve are from the NCR, 8 from Central Visayas, and 1 each from Central Luzon and Calabarzon. There is also one of unknown location.
INCREASE IN RECOVERIES
The DOH explained that of the 38,075 additional recoveries, 909 are from the regional units and 37,166 are from OPLAN RECOVERY.
The department first mentioned its data reconciliation efforts with local units in mid-July, with its reports showing a spike in the number of cases and recoveries. Even before that the numbers being released by local government units were different from the DOH because of delayed reporting.
“Early this month, the DOH created the COVID-19 Surveillance and Quick Action Unit which focuses on data collection, validation, and reconciliation of information available at the local and national level, through the COVIDKaya platform,” the DOH said.
“These massive data reconciliation efforts have resulted in faster and more accurate tagging of health statuses-particularly on deaths and recoveries. Data on recovery reconciliations will be reported every 15 days.
“On July 15, the data team implemented a ‘mass recovery’ adjustment wherein all mild and asymptomatic cases have been re-tagged as recovered with endorsement from the regional offices which resulted around 5,000 additional recoveries.”
However, the DOH told ABS-CBN News that personnel from local government units and Centers for Health Development still visited the patients to check back on their status.
Department Memorandum No. 2020-0258 already states that patients with mild or no symptoms are tagged as recovered 14 days from the date of onset of symptoms or by date of specimen collection.
“Current recovery policies now show that at the 10th day of illness, the risk of transmitting the virus to other people is significantly reduced,” the DOH said, adding that the same protocol is followed by the US CDC, European CDC, and India.
Those who are asymptomatic are still required to follow a 14-day isolation period. “Upon assessment of a licensed physician, the patient can be tagged as recovered after completion of 14 days isolation period,” the DOH said.
President Rodrigo Duterte will likely announce on Thursday the new community quarantine protocols in the country starting Aug. 1, his spokesman, Harry Roque, had said.
On Wednesday, coronavirus infections in the Philippines breached the 85,000-mark, as projected by researchers from the University of the Philippines, surpassing mainland China’s cumulative tally of the disease.
The total cases in mainland China, where the infectious disease is believed to have first emerged late last year, stood at 84,060, as of Wednesday morning, according to the World Health Organization - Western Pacific Region office. Cases in its special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau were separately logged.