DOH: 53 areas have rising COVID cases

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    HEALTH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are closely monitoring 53 provinces and cities that have a rising trend in COVID-19 cases even as 3,550 new cases were reported yesterday, raising the total number of infections in the country to 272,934.

    “There are 53 provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities with percent increases in the number of cases. We are closely monitoring and we are coordinating with local government units,” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.

    She said the top 20 areas with increasing cases are Cotabato City, Saranggani, Nueva Vizcaya, South Cotabato, General Santos City, Tawi-Tawi, Dagupan City, Abra, Biliran, Puerto Princesa City, Cagayan de Oro City, La Union, Bataan, Sultan Kudarat, Butuan City, Ifugao, Aurora, Negros Occidental, Davao del Sur, and Capiz.

    Based on its latest bulletin, the DOH said majority of the new cases came from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,459, followed by Rizal (271), Cavite (196), Bulacan (172), and Laguna (172).

    There were 69 more deaths, raising the number of fatalities to 4,732. Majority of the new deaths were recorded in NCR with 24 while CALABARZON had 19, and Western Visayas 10.

    There were 524 new recoveries, meaning the number of survivors has risen to 207,858.
    Vergeire also said they have noted an increasing number of clustering of cases in Calabarzon and Bulacan

    “We have identified five new clusters in Region 4A, and 4 new clusters in Bulacan,” said Vergeire.

    This means that CALABARZON now has a total of 382 areas with clustering, while Bulacan has a total of 60 areas.

    The DOH attributed this to the expanded testing, active surveillance, and efficient contact tracing activities being implemented by the government.

    The number of overseas Filipinos infected with the deadly virus continued to rise as 16 more cases were reported by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    The total number of Filipinos in 76 countries infected with virus since its outbreak has reached 10,339 with 6,581 having recovered, 13 of them just recently.

    The DFA reported no new fatality. As of Tuesday, 773 Filipinos have succumbed to the virus, 492 of them in the Middle East and African regions, 178 in the Americas, 95 in Europe and 8 in the Asia Pacific region.

    Cathedral reopens. A priest celebrates mass at the Manila Cathedral, which reopened to the public Wednesday. Attendees are required to wear face masks, face shields, and observe social distancing. PHOTO BY MANOLET SANTIAGO

    Meanwhile, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas has tested positive for COVID-19, the 10th House member to have contracted the virus and the 75th case at the House of Representatives.

    Brosas, who physically attended the budget hearing of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) yesterday afternoon, suspects that she caught the virus at the Batasang Complex.

    “I tested positive for COVID-19 and probably contracted the virus from exposure at the House of Representatives last September 2 because that’s the only place where I’ve been to with known active cases,” Brosas said, adding she “experienced mild symptoms in the past few days and got myself tested immediately.

    “I also immediately went under quarantine. As soon as the result came out today (Wednesday), I immediately informed the House of Representatives and all close contacts,” Brosas said. “Currently, I am no longer experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Moreover, I vow to participate in the budget deliberations via Zoom and will continue to push for higher budget to health and other social services.”

    Last September 8, Sorsogon Rep. Maria Bernadita “Ditas” Ramos, 76, died of COVID-19 following Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Francisco “Jun” Datol, the first casualty of virus among congressmen.

    Other lawmakers who have caught the deadly virus were Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, Deputy Speaker and Agusan del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Sulu Rep. Samier Tan, Bulacan Rep. Henry Villarica, Cavite Rep. Luis Ferrer IV, Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, and 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Eric Pineda.

    All training and classroom activities at the PNP Academy in Cavite have been suspended due to the high number of cadets who have been infected with COVID-19, according to PNP chief Camilo Cascolan.

    Last Monday, the PNPA announced that 232 PNPA cadets and 11 policemen assigned at the academy have been infected with the virus. They are currently in isolation facilities manned by PNP Health Service personnel.

    On Tuesday night, the PNP reported that 91 more policemen have been infected, 30 of them assigned with the National Capital Region Police Office. This brought to 5,206 the number of policemen who have contracted the disease, with 16 deaths. – With Ashzel Hachero, Wendell Vigilia and VICTOR REYES