DOH: Infections in PH ‘plateauing’; 50 more die

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    FOR the 14th straight day since November 9, less than 2,000 new coronavirus disease cases were reported, leading the Department of Health to say the COVID-19 situation in the country is already “plateauing.”

    In a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said: “In general, we can see that the cases continue to plateau with less than 2,000 cases per day. We can say that this is a good indication for us.”

    The last time new cases spiked past the 2,000 mark was on November 9, when the DOH reported 2,058 cases.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH reported 1,799 new cases yesterday, raising the total number of infections in the country to 420,614. Having the highest number of cases were Cavite (154), Rizal (114), Quezon City (99), Bulacan (76), and Laguna (67).

    On the downside, however, 50 more patients succumbed to the deadly virus, raising the number of fatalities to 8,173, bringing the case fatality rate in the country to 1.94 percent.

    There were 135 recoveries, meaning the number of survivors has risen to 386,604. This means that 91.9 percent of COVID patients have recovered.

    The DOH said there are 25,837 active cases in the country, which account for 6.1 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country. Of the active cases, 83.5 percent are mild cases, 7.8 percent are asymptomatic cases, 5.5 percent are critical cases, 2.9 percent are severe cases, and 0.26 percent are moderate cases.

    The health department said Davao City and Cebu City remain under close monitoring because of the increasing number of cases in Cebu City and the high hospital occupancy rate in Davao City.

    Vergeire said they are concerned with the critical care utilization rate in Davao City being in the “danger zone,” adding they are “setting up the One Hospital Command in that area so that we can have this network of hospitals, both private and public, national and local, so that we can decongest the hospitals.”

    The Department of Foreign Affairs reported one new case of COVID-19 infection among overseas Filipinos, bringing to 11,560 the number infected by the virus since last year. But there were no fatality reported by its embassies and consulates.

    The current death toll stands at 834.

    Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he has ordered a review of health protocols in the Senate after Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and a government official who attended the budget deliberations last week tested positive for the virus over the weekend.

    “Disinfection is almost daily. This past week, entire Senate was disinfected,” Sotto said in a text message to the media.

    Sotto’s order came after Dela Rosa last Saturday made public that he tested positive for the virus on Friday night. He was physically present at the Senate session hall on Wednesday last week to join budget deliberations.

    It was also learned that Isidro Lapena, chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, has also tested positive for COVID-19. Lapena was also physically present at the Senate session hall when the TESDA budget has been deliberated on by the senators last Wednesday.

    Dela Rosa is the fifth senator to be infected with the virus. The others were Juan Miguel Zubiri, Juan Edgardo Angara, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Ramon Revilla Jr., who have all since recovered. – With Ashzel Hachero and Raymond Africa