MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported 2,996 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the Philippines to 334,770.
This is the 5th straight day that newly-announced cases were below 3,000. Of the additional cases, 1,094 were from the National Capital Region, 282 from Cavite, 166 from Batangas, 152 from Iloilo, and 147 from Laguna.
The DOH said the daily tally does not include results from 12 laboratories who failed to submit data on time.
With 1,045 additional recovered patients and 83 additional coronavirus-related deaths, there are now 53,311 active cases in the country.
The total number of recoveries is at 275,307 while the total number of fatalities is at 6,152.
Of the newly-reported deaths, 33 occurred in October and 39 in September. There were also a few cases from previous months: 5 in August, 3 in July, 2 in June and 1 in May.
A total of 95 duplicate cases, 21 of which were tagged as recovered, were removed from the official tally.
Meanwhile, 35 cases initially tagged as recovered were found to be dead after final validation.
Except for Oct. 4 and Sept. 28, the Philippines has been logging less than 3,000 cases a day for more than two weeks.
The OCTA Research Group, composed of professors from the University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, estimates that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines will reach 380,000 to 410,000 by the end of October.
The OCTA Group said it had noted the decreasing trend in the daily number of cases but that there are also areas logging higher number of infections.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing on Friday morning that the OCTA Group was correct in saying that the trend is decreasing, especially with the transmission rate or reproduction number remaining below 1%.
“Pag tinignan ang r naught or reproduction rate (When we look at the r naught or reproduction rate), it is true. It is below 1. It’s 0.784 as of October 5,” she said, explaining that it means that each COVID-19 patient only infects one other person. This is an improvement from before when one patient is estimated to infect 2 to 3 other people.
“That is a good indication but still we have to remind everybody we cannot be complacent,” she said.
She also acknowledged that the country’s positivity rate or the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 was higher than the World Health Organization benchmark of 5%.
Based on the October 8 COVID-19 Situationer report, the positivity rate for October 7 was at 9.9%. However, the cumulative positivity rate is at 10.1%.
“Malayo pa tayo doon pero sa tingin namin we are on the right track,” she said.
(We are still far from that but we think we are on the right track.)
She attributed the decreasing trend in daily cases to the government’s “recalibrated” strategies, including efficient contact tracing and strict implementation of the isolation policy for COVID-19 contacts. She said individuals who were exposed to infected people need to be isolated within 24 hours.
Since late last week, the Philippines has been in the top 20 countries with the most number of cumulative COVID-19 cases, based on the tally of the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Since the start of the pandemic, almost 36.6 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 1.06 million have died and almost 25.5 million have recovered.