The Philippines recorded 11,021 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, August 7, the latest report from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.
Saturday’s figure is the highest single-day tally since April 17, when the DOH recorded 11,101.
The new uptick brings the country’s total caseload to 1,649,341. Of these, 76,063 are active cases. The number of total active cases is at its highest since April 25, when there were 77,075 active cases.
The seven-day average of new cases is also at its highest since April 25.
Saturday’s new reported deaths were pegged at 162, bringing the total COVID-19 death toll in the Philippines to 28,835.
Meanwhile, 9,194 have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 1,544,443.
The DOH reported a positivity rate of 19.1% out of 56,636 tests in its bulletin. This refers to the percentage of people who tested positive out of the total number of those who got tested.
These positive cases were added to the tally of confirmed cases only after further validation. This process helped ensure cases would not be recorded in duplicate, and that all test results had been submitted, explained the department.
Saturday’s positivity rate is higher than August 6’s 18.4% and August 5’s 17.3%.
The DOH said all testing hubs were operational on Thursday, August 5, and that three labs were not able to submit their data on time.
The Philippines is experiencing a new surge of cases as the highly infectious Delta variant infiltrates the country. As of Friday, August 6, there have been at least 450 cases linked to the Delta variant.
The Delta variant has been detected in all Metro Manila localities.
According to a report by Octa Research, the National Capital Region (NCR) logged 2,823 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, August 7, the highest since May 2, when the area was under modified enhanced community quarantine.
The day before the lockdown began, chaos ensued as Filipinos flocked to some vaccination sites in hopes of getting jabbed.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at the Laging Handa briefing on Saturday that their “initial projections” show a continued rise in COVID-19 cases even with tighter lockdown restrictions.
Asked at the Laging Handa briefing on Saturday if the numbers will go over 10,000, Vergeire said, “Looking at our projections, makikita natin na kahit na tayo ay magsasagawa ng paghihigpit ng ating mga (we can see that even if we impose stricter) quarantine classifications, we will still see the rise in the number of cases,” she said.
“Pero ang pinakaimportante ay kung masasabayan natin ng pagprepare ng ating sistema at saka magbabakuna nang mas marami, ang hope natin, walang masyadong magiging severe infections, walang masyadong maoospital, at wala po masyadong mamamatay,” Vergeire added.
(But what is important is if, at the same time, we can complement [the quarantine restrictions] with preparations in our healthcare system as well as increased vaccinations, our hope is that there will be not as much severe infections, hospitalization, and deaths.)
She also reiterated that quarantine rules can only “delay” the increase in cases, but cannot stop cases from rising. This, she said, would buy the government some time to better prepare the healthcare system.
Vergeire also cited government preparations for the surge in cases driven by the COVID-19 Delta variant, including expanding the number of beds in different healthcare facilities and intensive care units (ICUs) across the country.
“We had been hammering out the different response processes na ginagawa natin sa ngayon,” Vergeire said, adding that they are decongesting their facilities by referring mild and asymptomatic patients to lower facilities, where they can still be taken care of.
The government is also prepositioning supplies like oxygen, reagents, testing kits, and medicine in order to prepare for the increase in cases.
The government hopes that this would be the “last ECQ” as it aims to better stem COVID-19 infections and bring the economy up from the pandemic-induced recession.
Experts have flagged the sluggish pace of the country’s vaccination rollout, with just 8.5% Filipinos fully vaccinated as of August 2.