-with Ashzel Hachero and Angela Lorraine Celis
SEVENTY-THREE new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were reported on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 380.
The number of fatalities also rose to 25, with six reported on Sunday. Four more patients have recovered, for a total to 17.
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the public should expect more cases to be confirmed in the coming days because of the availability of more testing kits.
“In the coming days, we will continue to be surprised with the stark increase in our confirmed cases,” she said in a briefing.
“We are already seeing that now. And we should expect the same in the next few days,” she added.
However, the sharp increase could just be “artificial” rise, she said.
“We have what we call an artificial rise in cases because we are now able to reduce our backlog in samples testing,” she explained.
“We can only see the real number of new cases daily once we are already able to stabilize our laboratory testing capacity,” added Vergeire.
Globally, about 275,000 people have been infected with the new virus, and more than 11,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
First among the new deaths in the Philippines is Patient 210, an 81-year-old Filipino male from San Juan City with no travel or exposure history. He was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 18, and expired on the same day at 6:30 a.m. due to cardiac arrhythmia, septic shock secondary to community-acquired pneumonia, diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery disease.
Second is Patient 200, a 34-year old Filipino male from Quezon City with no travel or exposure history. He was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 18, and expired on March 21 due to acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to severe acute respiratory illness COVID-19.
Third is Patient 310, who is a 60-year-old Filipino female from Quezon City with travel history to France and Abu Dhabi. She was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 21, and expired on the same day due to acute respiratory distress secondary to COVID-19, and community-acquired pneumonia-high risk.
Fourth is Patient 351, 56, a Filipino male from San Juan City, who expired on March 19 due to septic shock secondary to community-acquired pneumonia and was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 20.
Fifth death is Patient 52, who is a 79-year-old Filipino female from Batangas with travel history to the United Kingdom and exposure to a known COVID-19 case. She was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 11, and expired on March 20 at 10 p.m. due to multi-organ failure secondary to septic shock from high-risk pneumonia secondary to COVID-19, acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The last is Patient 226, a 69-year-old Filipino male from Quezon City with no travel and exposure history. He expired on March 16 from severe acute respiratory syndrome, high-risk pneumonia, immuno-compromised state. He was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 20.
First of the four new cases who have recovered is Patient 143, a 73-year-old Filipino male from Quezon City with exposure to a known COVID-19 case. He was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 16, and was discharged on March 19 as he was asymptomatic with one negative result.
Second is Patient 22, a 51-year-old Filipino female from San Juan City with exposure to a known COVID-19 case. She was confirmed positive on March 9, and was discharged on March 18 as she was asymptomatic with one negative result.
Third is Patient 7, 38, Taiwanese male from Makati City with no travel history but with exposure to a known COVID-19 case. He was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 8, and discharged on March 21 as he was already asymptomatic with one negative result.
The last new recovery is Patient 51, a 26-year-old Filipino male from Quezon City with no travel history but with exposure to known COVID-19 case. He was confirmed positive on March 11, and was discharged on March 16 as he was already asymptomatic with one negative result
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said Belmonte said the local government is looking for a facility where three persons positive for COVID-19 can be isolated from their families and the community.
In a TV interview, she said she learned about the case of three of 44 Quezon City residents infected with COVID-19, who were not picked up by Department of Health personnel for confinement due to congestion of patients in hospitals, only last Saturday.
The three are from different communities in the city.
Belmonte said the three showed mild symptoms, got tested after being classified as persons under investigation, and sent home pending results of their tests which later came out positive.
Belmonte said the DOH automatically picked up patients with confirmed COVID-19 “but in this case, because of the lack of infrastructure, they were no longer picked up.”
“They are all confirmed positive… They are at home at the moment, they are not admitted…” she said.
She said the barangays of the three patients are under “extreme” enhanced community quarantine “but ‘now I’m trying to find a way so these patients could be separated and brought to a facility, so that’s something I’m really working on.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Singapore will donate 3,000 testing kits and one thermal cycler, or PCR machine, to be used for diagnostic medicine and research.
On Saturday, the Chinese Embassy in Manila formally handed to Locsin 100,000 testing kits as part of its assistance that will also include 100, 000 surgical masks, 10,000 N95 masks and 10,000 sets of personal protective equipment.
The US Embassy has pledged $2.7 million in assistance or P139 million. This is aside from the inclusion of Manila in the $37 funding initiative by the US Agency for International Development for 25 countries battling the coronavirus.
The Alibaba Foundation and Jack Ma Foundation have committed to sending thousands of medical-grade, full-body protective suits and face shields to the Philippines, on top of their earlier donation of 500,000 face masks, according to the Department of Finance.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez thanked Ma for the assistance.
The protective gear to be donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation is composed of a one-piece, non-woven, sterilized suit with a hat, coat, and pants.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) said Entertainment City licensees will donate some P200 million worth of essential items, like personal protective equipment (PPE), food, and medical supplies, to hospitals and local government units in areas where they are most needed.
Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc., the corporate social responsibility arm of Solaire Resort and Casino, will donate P60 million worth of PPEs and N95 masks, and will also procure 100,000 test kits that are currently available in China and South Korea, as soon as it gets clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.
Okada Manila Foundation will donated P50 million for COVID-19 testing kits, PPEs, validator machines/testing machines, masks and alcohol.
Melco Resorts and Entertainment Philippines Corp. Foundation, the charitable entity of City of Dreams Manila developer, will donate 125,000 food packs worth P400 each or a total of P50 million.
Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. (operator of Resorts World Manila) through its Resort World Philippines Cultural Heritage Foundation Inc., allocated P50 million for the procurement of PPEs and infrared thermometers, as well as other essential items, and will also purchase grocery packs.
According to Andrea Domingo, PAGCOR chairman and CEO, the gaming agency has authorized the Entertainment City casinos to use the funds of their respective foundations for COVID-19 efforts.
“Our licensees are required to establish a foundation. A percentage of their gross gaming revenues are set aside for these charitable entities whose funds are used for projects related to cultural heritage, education, environment and health,” she said.
PAGCOR also reported that legitimate service providers of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) are donating P150 million worth of medical protective gear and food.