From September 24 to 25, the Department of Health (DOH) failed to report the number of new deaths due to COVID-19 in the Philippines.
This kept the death toll at 37,405 for two days.
“No deaths were reported today (Saturday, September 25) due to technical issues in COVIDKaya. The Department of Information and Communications Technology is currently addressing issues encountered by the system,” the DOH said in a statement.
“When the issue is resolved, the succeeding increase in deaths in the following reports will be due to the previous days’ backlogs,” the department added.
On Saturday, the health department was able to report new cases and recoveries at 16,907 and 27,121, respectively.
The new cases bring the Philippines’ total caseload to 2,470,235. Of these, 165,110 are active cases, or those who are currently sick with COVID-19.
Total recoveries, meanwhile, were pegged at 2,267,720.
The DOH reported a positivity rate of 23.6% out of 74,606 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 23.6% means that almost one in four people tested turned out positive for the virus.
The DOH said all testing hubs were operational on Thursday, September 23, while four laboratories were not able to submit their data on time. The cases reflected in the bulletin were based on tests conducted two days ago.
Call to fix data
Earlier this month, medical experts renewed their call for the government to fix gaps in its COVID-19 data reporting, citing this as a crucial aspect of the government’s pandemic response.
The call came as the government shifted Metro Manila on September 16 to a granular lockdown system, which allowed for several industries like dining and personal care services to slightly open up. The government claimed the quarantine level adjustments were made based on data.
“We are inclined to believe that the proposed scheme, which claims to use pandemic severity and healthcare utilization data in deciding the alert level, does not reflect the true situation on the ground,” said the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday that output from laboratories decreased, which may have something to do with the increased use of rapid antigen tests.
Antigen test results are not yet part of the DOH’s official tally.
The Philippines continues to battle record-breaking case tallies over the past weeks driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, now named the dominant COVID-19 variant in the country. – Rappler.com