DOH: 'Fresh, late' case classifications to continue until backlogs cleared

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, June 2, that it will continue to classify cases as "fresh" and "late" until laboratories have cleared their validation backlogs.  

During a virtual press briefing on Tuesday morning, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the DOH implemented the new classification system to show the public that not all new cases being reported are "fresh."

"This is a temporary way of reporting because we would want to be as transparent as possible to show the public the complete information. We also want to educate the public that these cases, although complete, are the new and old ones," Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipuno. 

"Once we have validated all the line lists from these labs. We can approximate that all new cases will be fresh. We would be reverting to our cases bulletin as before," Vergeire said.

According to the DOH, "fresh" cases are test results that came out and had been validated by its Epidemiology Bureau in the last 3 days, while "late" cases are test results that came out 5 days or older, but were only validated recently. 

On Monday, June 1, Vergeire said that health authorities had 6,800 coronavirus tests to validate to clear its backlog. (READ: ‘Fresh’ or ‘late’ cases? DOH still validating 6,800 coronavirus tests)

The DOH keeps a tally of both confirmed and positive cases, although positive cases are only added to confirmed cases on the day they are validated by the agency.

While 6,800 tests still need to be validated, Vergeire said not all may fall under the confirmed number of cases.

The DOH said the validation of tests would ensure that cases would not be recorded in duplicates, and that all test results had been submitted to the DOH.

Meanwhile, in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Vergeire said that they found out that most of the 23,000 recorded positive cases are duplicates from other laboratories. 

The DOH COVID-19 tracker showed that as of Tuesday, the Philippines had 18,997 confirmed cases. –

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.