COVID-19

Philippines records second-highest daily COVID-19 tally at 23,134

Michelle Abad
Philippines records second-highest daily COVID-19 tally at 23,134

FULL CAPACITY. A 'temporarily closed, full capacity' notice is posted at the emergency room of Manila Medical Center in Manila on September 15, 2021, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Rappler

There are more than 184,000 people who are currently sick with COVID-19 in the country

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, September 18, confirmed 23,134 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines – the second highest single-day COVID-19 tally since the pandemic began.

This raises the country’s total caseload to 2,347,550. Of these cases, 184,088 are active cases, or those who are currently sick with COVID-19.

New deaths were recorded at 255, bringing the Philippines’ death toll to 36,583.

The country also recorded 27,024 new recoveries, marking a total 2,126,879 recoveries in the country from COVID-19.

The DOH reported a positivity rate of 26% out of 73,635 tests in its bulletin. These positive cases were added to the tally of confirmed cases only after further validation. This process helps ensure cases would not be recorded in duplicate, and that all test results had been submitted, explained the department.

The positivity rate of 26% means that more than one in four people tested turned out positive for the virus.

The DOH said all testing hubs were operational on Thursday, September 16, while two laboratories were not able to submit their data on time. The cases reflected in the bulletin were based on tests conducted two days ago.

The Philippines is facing its worst surge of daily COVID-19 cases yet, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant – now the dominant variant in the country. So far, the highest daily count was on Saturday, September 11, with 26,303 new cases.

Despite the numbers, the Philippine government has begun relaxing lockdowns in areas like virus epicenter Metro Manila, and shifting to a granular lockdown system – to the opposition of health worker groups.

Octa Research fellow Guido David earlier on Saturday said that there were early indications that “the surge may have already peaked in the National Capital Region.”

However, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that at this point, it may be too early to say.

“At this point, in our analysis, hindi pa natin nakikita na nagpi-peak na po ang mga kaso, pinag-aaralan pa po nating maigi ‘yan (At this point, in our analysis, we can’t see yet if the cases have peaked, so we are studying that further),” Vergeire said.

Vergeire also said that hospitals needed to transmit their bed availability faster, so that the health department could report a more accurate picture of hospital capacities.

The DOH has been criticized for reporting bed capacities that do not reflect the realities on the ground.

The Philippine Senate also continues to hold marathon hearings probing anomalous contracts for government-procured COVID-19 supplies.

It has since been revealed that the government’s biggest supplier for its COVID-19 response, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, has ties to Michael Yang, President Rodrigo Duterte’s former economic adviser. – Rappler.com

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.