Biggest 1-day hike in COVID-19 cases
The Department of Health (DOH) recorded on Friday the highest single-day increase in the number of cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as it posted 1,531 new cases, bringing the national caseload to 40,336.
The DOH announced the data as the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the government to strengthen its contact tracing efforts in order to curb the rising number of cases in the provinces.
Of the new cases, 688 are patients who tested positive in the last three days. Metro Manila had the most number of these cases with 255, followed by Central Visayas with 138.
The remainder of the new cases, or 843, are patients who tested positive four days ago or earlier. Central Visayas topped this list with 163, followed by Metro Manila with 158.
Apart from Metro Manila and Central Visayas, regions with double-digit cases are: Calabarzon (85), Eastern Visayas (20), Northern Mindanao (19) and Cagayan Valley (12). There are a total 629 patients whose residences have yet to be validated by DOH.
Of the cases to be validated, majority, or 457, are patients whose samples were taken by laboratories in Metro Manila.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that the surge in cases was a result of their transition on Thursday to a new data extraction system.
“If you recall, we reported only 294 cases [on Thursday] and now we have a high number of cases. This is because of our shift to our new data extraction system wherein we had a much shorter time [on Thursday] allotted to extract and analyze the data,” Vergeire said.
Of the newly reported cases, nearly all exhibit mild symptoms. Only one patient is in critical condition, while three are asymptomatic. One of the newly confirmed positive patients had already died.
But the high number of new cases was somehow offset by the 11,073 patients who have recovered from COVID-19 with 400 more recoveries, the most reported in a single day.
However, the death toll increased to 1,280 as six patients succumbed to the severe respiratory disease. All of the newly reported deaths occurred in June.
Rising cases in provinces
The WHO, on the other hand, expressed concern at the rising number of cases in the provinces.
According to WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the country’s ability to trace and isolate the close contacts of confirmed cases “has not been keeping pace with the expansion of the testing capacity.”
“We see delays in the identification of contacts and their quarantining and isolation. The compliance of the population with quarantining guidelines has been weak in some places,” Abeyasinghe said.
“People have not followed orders. People have been reluctant to isolate themselves in the quarantine and isolation centers and this has resulted in an increased number of cases happening within their communities,” he added.
He noted that the spike in cases might be due to the influx of repatriated migrant workers as well as locally stranded individuals.
“So it is imperative that these people going back to the provinces are tested and quarantined in the province first before they are allowed to go back to their homes,” Abeyasinghe said.
Abeyasinghe added that stronger contact tracing would better identify where and how the virus was being transmitted and the government would not have to impose lockdowns that affect even people who are not at risk.
“Through those efforts, we will hopefully minimize the need for large-scale lockdowning of geographic areas and impacting adversely on the socioeconomic situation,” he added.
In Cebu City, more than 14,500 close contacts and 7,389 other contacts of the confirmed cases there have been traced as of Tuesday, but Vergeire said there was still a shortage of personnel to do the task.
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