Rise in COVID-19 daily recoveries expected. Here’s why.

Bonz Magsambol
Rise in COVID-19 daily recoveries expected. Here’s why.

DEADLY PANDEMIC. A sign indicating that the COVID-19 facility of the Advestist Medical Center in Manila is at full capacity on Tuesday, March 30.


Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire says the health department is 'doing daily time-based tagging instead of the weekly tagging' of COVID-19 recoveries

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, April 20, that the public should expect a higher number of patients recovering from COVID-19 because its “Oplan Recoveries” improved tracking of people who test positive for the coronavirus.

In a statement sent to reporters, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said with “Operation Recoveries” the DOH was “doing daily time-based tagging instead of the weekly tagging.”

“Daily na ang tagging ng recoveries, and naturally tataas ang number of recoveries kasi mas mataas ‘yung cases,” she added. (Tagging of recoveries is being done daily, and naturally number of recoveries will go up because cases are high.)

Since Sunday, April 18, the DOH reported relatively high numbers of COVID-19 recoveries: 72,607 (April 18); 9,266 (April 19); and 21,664 (April 20).

Prior to this, the DOH mass recovery strategy was tallied only Sundays.

Oplan Recoveries involves implementing the World Health Organization’s “time-based” and “symptoms-based” strategy for discharging patients. This set-up has also been endorsed by the Philippine College of Physicians and Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

In August 2020, Vergeire cited the case of the United States, although they only require 10 days of isolation, the Americans also did not require RT-PCR testing to tag patients as recovered. (READ: ‘Mass recovery adjustment’ based on scientific evidence – DOH)

Clinically recovered refers to patients who no longer showed COVID-19 symptoms.

What this means? COVID-19 patients who are mild and asymptomatic will be counted as recoveries after completing 14 days of isolation from the time they start showing symptoms or their samples are collected for testing.

Setting at least 14 days as the minimum for isolation or quarantine is based on current evidence that showed that on the 10th day of illness, mild and asymptomatic patients have a low risk of transmitting the virus to others.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found that days 10-12 are significant when checking if symptoms worsened. If symptoms progressed, the DOH made sure that a patient’s status was updated and treatment was adjusted. 

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EXPLAINER: How DOH tracks coronavirus recoveries

EXPLAINER: How DOH tracks coronavirus recoveries

A year into the pandemic, the Philippines still struggled to contain the spread of the deadly disease. For the past days, the country has been logging around 9,000 COVID-19 infections. On April 2, the country’s daily caseload was at its highest with 15,310 infections.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has 953,106 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 16,141 deaths and 809,959 recoveries. –

Read this two-part series on the COVID-19 pandemic surge in the country:

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.