The Philippines now has 241,987 cases of COVID-19 as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,281 new cases on Tuesday, September 8.
The DOH reported 26 new deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 3,916, while the recoveries are up by 286, raising total recoveries to 185,178.
Of the total cases, 52,893 are active.
The latest DOH data showed that 1,480 or 45% of the 3,281 new cases are from Metro Manila. The rise in cases continues to strain hospitals in the capital region, where critical care capacity was at 66% – or at the "danger zone" – as of September 7.
There were 21 duplicates that were removed from the total case count. Of these, 7 recovered cases have been removed. At least 7 cases previously reported as recovered turned out to be deaths, the DOH said, noting that COVID-19 figures undergo "constant cleaning and validation."
Researchers studying the pandemic in the country have projected that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may hit 375,000 by the end of September.
The researchers also earlier suggested that the pandemic curve in the capital region had already flattened, but reminded the public to remain vigilant. (READ: COVID-19 curve for Metro Manila has flattened, but don't be complacent – UP expert)
On Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippines' pandemic response strategies are "working" as the transmission rate stays below one – now at 0.977 – and critical care utilization of cases is now at 50% for the whole country.
Experts have repeatedly said the goal of any country is to get its transmission rate to below 1, which would indicate the outbreak has been brought to a manageable level.
Vergeire, however, said that "nothing is certain at this point" as the DOH continues to monitor the pandemic situation. (READ: DOH says strategies vs pandemic 'working' as COVID-19 transmission rate stays below 1)
On Tuesday morning, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the government was eyeing a ban on home quarantine of COVID-19 patients, but the DOH said patients can undergo home isolation if certain conditions are met. (READ: DOH sings different tune, urges home quarantine if conditions are met) – Rappler.com