MORE than 23,000 recoveries from the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were reported by the Health Department yesterday but this was tempered by 85 new deaths that raised the number of fatalities to 3,875 just as the country is said to be flattening the curve.
In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the 23,074 new recoveries raised the number of survivors to 184,687.
But 2,839 new cases were also reported, bringing the overall tally in the country to 237,365. Of the new cases reported, majority came from the National Capital Region with 1,170 while Negros Occidental had 195, Laguna 190, Cavite 82, and Rizal 154.
Majority of the new deaths were recorded in NCR with 41. Other deaths were reported from Central Visayas (15), CALABARZON (9), Eastern Visayas (4), Northern Mindanao (4), Central Luzon (2), Bicol Region (2), Cagayan Valley (1), Western Visayas (1), Zamboanga Peninsula (1), SOCCSKSARGEN (1), MIMAROPA (1), BARMM (1), Caraga (1), and ROF (1).
The DOH had attributed the high number of recoveries to its “Oplan Recovery,” a program that monitors the status of confirmed COVID-19 cases with mild symptoms and are asymptomatic.
“Oplan Recovery” uses the time-based recovery system, where those who have completed the 14-day isolation period and are cleared by a physician are tagged as having recovered despite not undergoing repeat RT-PCR testing.
Globally, as of September 5, there were 26,468,031 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 871,166 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
In its continuing bid to find more COVID-19 cases, the DOH reminded those set to utilize pooled testing to limit samples to only five.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it would be best for other laboratories to observe the same protocol adopted by Makati City.
“This means that in a pool, there will be samples of five people. They will mix the samples of five in just one viral transport medium,” Vergeire said in an online press briefing.
Makati City has been designated as the pilot area for the pooled testing initiative of the private sector. Such a method is also used in countries like the United States, Ghana, India, and Singapore, among others, with differing number of samples used in one testing kit.
Vergeire said adopting pooled testing can help save government resources for COVID-19 response.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said only one overseas Filipino was infected with COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 10,117. No new recovery or fatality from the deadly virus among members of the overseas Filipino community was reported.
As of Saturday, 758 overseas Filipinos have succumbed to the virus while 6,284 have recovered.
The DFA said there could be additional cases as its embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa, Europe and the Americas have yet to report. The Middle East and African regions retained the top spot in terms of cases and fatalities among the overseas Filipino community with 6,975 and 477, respectively.
At the House, 1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Eric Pineda announced on Saturday night that he positive, making him the eighth House member to have contracted the virus.
“My dear colleagues and friends, I would like to inform everyone that I tested positive for COVID-19 today. For those that I may have had contact the last five days, please take the necessary precautions. God bless,” Pineda said in a statement.
The other congressmen who have contracted the virus are Cavite Rep. Luis “Jon-Jon” Ferrer IV; Deputy Speakers Mujiv Hataman; and Johnny Pimentel; Reps. Henry Villarica of Bulacan; Samier Tan of Sulu; Paul Daza of Northern Samar; and Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. of Senior Citizens party-list.
There are 67 COVID cases at the Lower House, of which 13 are active, including two employees who were the latest recorded cases.
The mayor of Barili in Cebu has passed away, days after one of his brothers died, their sibling and former Government Service Insurance System president Winston Garcia.
In his Facebook page, Garcia mayor Marlon Garcia died a few days after their other brother, former Dumanjog Mayor Nelson Garcia, died. He did not mention the cause of their deaths.
Before his post, their sister, Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia announced in August that Mayor Garcia had been infected with COVID-19.
Communication Secretary Martin Andanar, in a statement, sent his condolences to the Garcias and prayed for the eternal repose of their souls.
The PCOO and its attached agencies had recorded 141 COVID cases with 46 active cases, 92 recovered and three deaths.
The PCOO had the highest number of case with 45 cases (16 active, 28 recovered, one death); followed by the National Printing Office (NPO) with 33 (five active, 28 recovered); People’s Television Network (PTV) with 19 (16 active, two recovered, one death); Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) with 11 (all recovered); and the APO Production Unit with 11 (five active, five recovered, one death).
The News and Information Bureau (NIB) reported 19 cases (two active, eight recovered); Philippine Information Agency (PIA) with seven (all recovered); Bureau of Broadcast Service (BBS) with four (one active, three recovered); and Bureau of Communication Services (BCS) with one (one active). – By Ashzel Hachero, Wendell Vigilia and Jocelyn Montemayor