MANILA (UPDATE) — The coronavirus death toll in the Philippines topped 4,000 on Thursday as the country's caseload of the disease climbed by 3,821 to 248,947, the health department said.
The total fatalities swelled to 4,066 after 80 new deaths were reported.
The country recorded its first COVID-related death on Feb. 1, involving a 44-year-old Chinese man, who arrived from Wuhan, China via Hong Kong in January and was the Philippines' second confirmed case of the disease. It was also the first COVID-related death outside China, where the outbreak originated.
The man was a companion of the Philippines' first COVID case which the government confirmed on Jan. 30. The female patient recovered and has already returned to China.
Based on the latest bulletin of the Department of Health (DOH), more than half or 2,079 of the new cases reported on Thursday are from the National Capital Region, the epicenter of the outbreak in the country. The additional cases are based on the results of 105 out of 117 accredited testing laboratories.
The rest are from the nearby provinces of Rizal (286 cases), Cavite (174), Laguna (168), and Bulacan (142).
Majority of the new cases, or 86%, occurred in the last 2 weeks. These are mostly from NCR, Region 4A and Region 3.
This is the 3rd straight day that new cases being reported are more than 3,000. The DOH warned on Wednesday that additional cases would be irregularly high this week as laboratories try to catch up with their delayed reporting.
With 563 additional recovered patients that raised the cumulative total recoveries to 186,058, the country's active cases stood at 58,823.
The active cases are broken down as follows: 88.3% have mild symptoms, 8.8% are asymptomatic, 1.2% have severe symptoms, and 1.7% are in critical condition.
Meanwhile, 41% of the additional deaths reported were from the month of August, 29% percent occurred this month, 12% were in July, 14% were in June, and 4% were in May.
According to the ABS-CBN Data Analytics, while deaths reached the 1,000-mark in June 7, it doubled by July 31. In less than one month, it reached 3,000, and then 4,000 in just over 2 weeks.
The 12 laboratories that were unable to submit their data for the day to the COVID-19 Data Repository System (CDRS) are:
1. Amosup Seamen's Hospital
2. Butuan Medical Center
3. Calamba Medical Center
4. Cebu TB Reference Laboratory
5. Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Memorial Hospital
6. Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital
7. Green City Medical Center
8. Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center (GX)
9. Maria Reyna Xavier University Hospital
10. NKTI GX
11. Philippine Genome Center
12. Qualimed Hospital – San Jose del Monte
The DOH said it removed 17 duplicate cases from the previous tally, including 12 tagged as recovered. There were also 36 cases erroneously reported as recovered, but turned out instead to be 35 deaths and 1 active case.
Before this week, the Philippines has been seeing a seeming decline in COVID-19 cases, with daily tallies going as low as 1,000 to 2,000.
Additional cases per day have been averaging 3,000 to 4,000 the month before, during which, the number of cases breached both the 100,000- and 200,000-marks. After surpassing the caseload of mainland China, the Philippines' tally also soared to the top among Southeast Asian nations.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Wednesday that the government was still optimistic that the country’s COVID-19 response is gaining ground, with improved contact tracing efforts. The DOH also plans to release barangay-level data soon.
Experts from the University of the Philippines OCTA Research Group estimate that the country's total cases would reach 310,000 to 330,000 by the end of September.
Since the start of the pandemic, 27.87 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 903,000 have died and almost 18.8 million have recovered.
Development of medicine and vaccine for COVID-19, which was first detected last last year, is still underway.