MANILA — The total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 173,774 on Wednesday as quarantine measures in the capital region and other key parts of the country started to ease up.
The health department reported 4,650 additional cases, the 7th highest reported in a single day since the pandemic reached the Philippines. The country's first case was reported on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.
Of the cumulative total, 57,498 are active cases, which refer to patients who are still infected with COVID-19 and are staying either in the hospital or under home quarantine.
The additional cases for the day, which were based on tests done by 97 out of 105 accredited testing laboratories, were mostly from Metro Manila (3,092 infections), followed by Cavite (249), Laguna (194), Rizal (189) and Bulacan (136).
Majority of the newly-reported cases (83%) occurred in the last two weeks. More than half of those were from National Capital Region (NCR), as well.
RECOVERIES TO DEATHS
The Department of Health (DOH) also reported 716 additional recovered patients, or 113,481 total recoveries.
There are also 111 additional fatalities, the 4th highest reported so far in a day. The death toll is now 2,795.
Majority of the additional deaths were from this month (76 fatalities), and the rest were in July (13), May (9), June (8) and April (5). Almost half are from the NCR, followed by Region 7 (26%).
Twenty-six (26) of the additional COVID-related deaths were previously reported as recovered.
“There were twenty-seven (27) cases that were previously reported as recovered but after final validation, they were deaths (26) and active (1) cases," the DOH said.
"There's also one (1) case that was previously reported as death has been validated to be a recovery,” it added.
The DOH did not say why these were erroneously reported in the first place.
A total of 89 duplicate cases were also removed from the previous tally of total cases. This included 69 tagged as recovered, and 2 deaths.
COVID-19 cases in the Philippines went up to more than 1,000 per day in July, and more or less doubled in August, with around 3,000 additional cases reported daily.
The DOH attributed the spike to the easing of quarantine measures and the gradual opening up of the economy. It also cited the country's expanded testing capacity.
The country's case tally reached 150,000 in mid-August, two weeks before it was projected to do so. Experts recently said that total cases might reach 250,000 by the end of the month.
While the number of COVID-related deaths are relatively low compared to the additional cases, infectious disease experts said there will be more fatalities in the coming months due to the longer course of illness among severe and critical patients.
Despite this, the government announced the downgrading of lockdown levels for Metro Manila and several other areas beginning Wednesday.
As of Aug. 17, based on the DOH COVID-19 Situationer Report, more than 205,000 COVID-19 tests have turned out positive. Some may be repeat tests, but this could also mean the case tally is much higher than today's 173,774 cumulative total.
There have been 22.1 million people worldwide infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 781,000 have died while 14.1 million have recovered.