The Philippines on Wednesday, March 31, logged 6,128 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 747,288.
The number of new cases reported on Wednesday is the lowest since March 23, when 5,867 new cases were reported. The latest tally, however, is still double the average daily cases in late February, when the surge of infections began.
In its case bulletin, the DOH explained that some laboratories were not able to transmit their results.
“The numbers are relatively lower today due to a number of laboratory line list uploaded via CDRS that were not pushed to COVIDKaya,” it said. The DOH said that the Department of Information and Communications Technology is already “investigating and addressing the issue.”
Of the country’s total cases, 17.4% or 130,245 are active or currently sick – the highest reported number of active cases since the coronavirus pandemic started.
The Department of Health (DOH) also reported 106 new deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 13,297. The reported number of deaths on Wednesday is the highest since February 20, when 239 deaths were reported.
Meanwhile, recoveries are up by 491, raising the total to 603,746.
The confirmed cases, however, was only based on an output of 39,775 tests. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire had said in a television interview on March 23 that on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, there are relatively lower numbers of reported cases as some laboratories stop their operations during weekends to disinfect their facilities.
For the past days, the Philippines was able to test 50,000 unique individuals on the average – the government’s target number back in May 2020.
In March alone, at least 170,936 new cases have been reported, excluding duplicates removed by the DOH. This is already more than the combined 144,722 new cases reported from December to February.
The DOH on Wednesday appealed to licensed COVID-19 testing centers in the country to continue their operations during the Holy Week to ensure the uninterrupted monitoring of the pandemic situation.
The health department also said that the government’s One Hospital Command Center is currently facing “a lot of strain” due to the surge in infections. Vergeire said that the centralized COVID-19 referral center has been receiving 300 to 4000 calls every day as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country.
The government does not have any plan to conduct mass testing even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Vergeire said.
After lawmakers flagged the government’s counting system for COVID-19 cases as leading to underreporting, the DOH said on Tuesday that it would include antigen tests in the “NCR Plus” area of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite in the national count.
Prior to the DOH’s announcement, the government only included COVID-19 cases confirmed through the real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) – the gold standard in testing – in its national count. Positive antigen tests need confirmatory RT-PCR testing before being counted. – Rappler.com