Daily COVID-19 case count tops 1K, highest since late Feb
COVID-19 transmission in the country showed no signs of slowing down, with daily infections surpassing the 1,000 mark after a relative decline of about four months, while the national positivity rate breached the 5-percent benchmark set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Department of Health’s (DOH) national case tally on Thursday stood at 1,309, the highest since Feb. 25 when infections were pegged at 1,671.
The latest count reflected a 68-percent jump from Wednesday’s 781 cases.
Active cases remained more than 7,000 for the fourth straight day since the 7,087 recorded on June 27, with 7,871 individuals currently ill with the coronavirus.
Separate DOH data released also on Friday showed country’s positivity rate now at 6 percent, above the WHO’s recommended 5 percent.
It was the first time the positivity rate exceeded the WHO benchmark since March, when the DOH stopped issuing daily case bulletins.
The recommended 5-percent level should be sustained for 14 days before the COVID-19 situation in a certain area can be considered contained.
Four regions surpassed the WHO benchmark, with Metro Manila posting the highest (8.2 percent), followed by Calabarzon (7 percent), Mimaropa (6.6 percent) and Western Visayas (6.4 percent).
From June 25 to July 1, the country posted an average 914 infections, up by 53 percent from a week ago, while average cases in the National Capital Region were at 442, an increase of 52 percent.
The DOH said 86 areas outside Metro Manila showed one-week to two-week growth rates.
The department cited three localities with increasing hospitalizations—Lucena City and Bohol province which the DOH said were at moderate risk of infection, and Tawi-Tawi which was at critical risk.
The agency, however, maintained that the health-care utilization rate and average daily attack rate (Adar) were still at low risk classification across all regions.
“These increases have not translated to [a rise] in other metrics, as (Adar) and utilization rates remain at low risk in majority of these areas,” the DOH said.
It added: “Active case surveillance must be done to address these case increases, maintain minimal transmission and keep severe and critical cases low.”
As of June 30, the health-care utilization rate stood at 19 percent, while intensive care utilization was at 25 percent, both still at low risk.
Severe and critical admissions remained unchanged from the past week at 648 cases as of Thursday. This accounted for 10.62 percent of total hospitalizations in the country.
Leading causes of death
The latest Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) figures showed that COVID-19 ranked fourth among the leading causes of deaths in the country.
Based on PSA data as of April 30, deaths due to “identified and unidentified COVID-19” were at 6,770, or 7 percent of the total 97,042 fatalities recorded in the first quarter this year.
According to National Statistician Dennis Mapa, unidentified cases referred to deaths not reported by the DOH.
Data submitted to the PSA by city and municipal registrars nationwide showed that identified coronavirus fatalities were at 5,031 as of end-March, while the unidentified were at 1,739.
A year ago, identified COVID-19 deaths were at 5,374 and unidentified deaths, at 4,280.
Ischemic heart diseases were the top cause of mortality among Filipinos in the first quarter, with 18,601 cases or nearly a fifth of the total deaths, although this was down from 31,624 in the same period a year ago.
Cerebrovascular diseases ranked second, with 10,044 recorded in the first quarter, followed by neoplasms or cancer, with 8,926.
Diabetes mellitus was fifth, claiming 6,151 lives.
Total deaths nationwide from January to March fell 43.6 percent from 171,984 in the first quarter last year. —With a report from Ben O. de Vera, INQ
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