DOH: Expect 'irregularly high number' of COVID-19 cases as labs submit complete data
Bus commuters in Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City wear face shields on August 19, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

DOH: Expect 'irregularly high number' of COVID-19 cases as labs submit complete data

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - September 9, 2020 - 12:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The public should anticipate a higher number of reported cases of coronavirus in the coming days due to reporting delays, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire there are confirmed COVID-19 cases that have not yet been included in the national tally after it required laboratories to include the addresses and contact numbers of patients when they submit data to the department’s database.

Not all of the country’s 115 coronavirus testing laboratories were able to comply with the directive effective September 1.

“This means there are confirmed cases per day that had not yet been reported officially and will come out this week because laboratories are able to comply now,” Vergeire said.

“We may have an irregularly high number of cases in the coming days as cases from these laboratories get reported. We will ensure to highlight which of these cases were late reports,” she said, adding the agency expects that this would only be a “one time occurrence.”

The DOH issued the order after local government units raised concerns that incomplete information on coronavirus patient gathered by the agency was delaying contact tracing efforts.

To address this, the department required that case investigation forms must be filled out properly and that laboratories must ensure complete information is encoded.

In the past few days, the Philippines has been seeing fewer cases with additional infections logged daily staying below 3,000-level, except for September 4 and September 8.

The DOH reported Monday 1,383 additional COVID-19 cases—the lowest daily rise since May to July. The figure, however, was based on data submitted by only 88 out of 115 laboratories.

Experts studying the coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines said over the weekend the pandemic curve for outbreak epicenter Metro Manila has flattened.

Vergeire said that “nothing is certain at this point” but she cited improvements in contact tracing response and hospital and critical utilization rate.

“We are very cautious in issuing statements regarding these improvements although we would want the people to know that we are seeing improvements and there are good indicators but we still advise that we continue to comply with minimum health standards,” she said.

The Philippines has a total of 241,987 COVID-19 cases—still the highest in Southeast Asia.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 23, 2021 - 4:05pm

Other regions and provinces in the Philippines considered moderate and low-risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine starting May 1. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Edd Gumban)

February 23, 2021 - 4:05pm

The Department of Health registers 1,414 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national caseload to 564,865.

Of these, 29,817 are active cases. 

The DOH also registers 16 new deaths and 72 additional survivors, bringing the death toll to 12,107 and the total of survivors to 522,941.

February 22, 2021 - 7:02pm

There will be no nationwide shift to the more lenient Modified General Community Quarantine until the national vaccination program against COVID-19, News5 reports, citing a senator close to the president.

The Palace has yet to issue an official statement.

February 22, 2021 - 4:07pm

The Department of Health records another 2,288 COVID-19 cases, pushing the national caseload to 563,456.

The DOH also logs 6 new fatalities and 33 additional survivors, bringing the death toll to 12,094 and the total of survivors to 522,874.

Active cases in the country are at 28,488.

February 20, 2021 - 4:14pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 2,240 COVID-19 infections, bringing the national caseload to 559,288.

To date, there are 34,100 active cases. The Philippines' death toll rises to 12,068 with 239 more fatalities while the total of recovered patients is at 513,120 with 504 new survivors.

February 19, 2021 - 4:18pm

The Philippines' coronavirus tally reaches 557,058 with 1,901 additional cases reported Friday. Of which, 32,440 are considered active cases.

The country's death toll also rises to 11,829 with 157 more fatalities while the total of recovered patients is at 512,789 with 537 new survivors.

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