Infections rise to 432,925; death toll now 8,418

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    TWENTY-SEVEN more patients died while 1,298 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were reported by the Department of Health yesterday, raising the number of infections in the country to 432,925.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH said Ilocos Norte reported 84 infections, Manila had 61, Quezon 55, Laguna 50, and Negros Occidental 47.

    The number of fatalities rose to 8,418 for a 1.94 percent case fatality rate.

    There were 135 new recoveries, raising the number of survivors to 398,782. This means that 92.1 percent of patients have recovered from the deadly virus.

    Lss the deaths and recoveries, the DOH said there are 25,725 active cases in the country, accounting for 5.9 percent of cases in the country.

    Of the active cases, 84 percent are mild cases, 7.4 percent are asymptomatic cases, 5.4 percent are critical cases, 2.9 percent are severe cases, and 0.30 percent are moderate cases.

    The OCTA Research group said there are four regions that can be considered as epicenters of COVID-19 in the country – Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Davao Region.

    According to the latest OCTA report, the National Capital Region saw an 18 percent increase in the average number of new cases per day from 343 to 404.

    In CALABARZON, the average number of new cases per day went up from 313 to 317 or an increase of 1 percent.

    The average number of new cases per day in Central Luzon was steady at 156, similar to the previous week.

    In the Davao Region, there was a 13 percent increase in the average number of new cases per day from 121 to 138.

    Sixteen more overseas Filipinos were infected with the virus, bringing the number of infection to 11,708 in 82 countries, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    There were no new deaths. The current death toll among overseas Filipinos due to the virus is 847.

    The DFA said there were 42 new recoveries, bringing the number of survivors to 7, 539.

    The 16 new cases were all recorded in Europe, bringing to 1,399 the number of Filipinos sickened by COVID-19 since the first case in the region was reported.
    Europe also recorded a total of 97 deaths.

    COVID HOTSPOT

    Almost 10 percent of the total number of congressmen and employees have tested positive for COVID-19, with 98 new cases recorded under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

    The House of Representatives has so far recorded a total of 191 cases, 93 of which were under the leadership of former speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, including Reps. Francisco Datol Jr. of Senior Citizens party-list and Maria Bernardita “Ditas” Ramos, who both died of the disease along with three employees.

    House secretary general Mark Llandro Mendoza said the House will continue to operate under strict health and safety protocols after almost a hundred people tested positive for COVID-19 during the mass testing that was conducted by the House since the start of the pandemic last March.

    He said the new number represents nearly five percent of 2,000 lawmakers and employees who underwent reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing since November 10. The House has 300 members.

    Mendoza said the mass testing was implemented only less than a month after Velasco assumed office “to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the Batasan Complex, while the legislative chamber carries out its constitutional duties amid the pandemic.”

    The House official, a former lawmaker, said almost all COVID-19 positive cases were asymptomatic and those who tested positive were directed to self-isolate to avoid passing the virus to others as contact tracing was being conducted with the help of the Quezon City government.

    He also said the testing laboratory commissioned by the House has reported the cases to the Department of Health, while the chamber’s in-house medical service made proper coordination with concerned Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams.

    “Because it was mass testing for all officials, employees and guests entering the Batasan Complex, we caught even the asymptomatic cases who could be transmitters if we didn’t find out they were COVID positive,” Mendoza said.

    He said all House members and employees reporting for work were required to undergo RT-PCR test with Velasco taking the lead by having himself tested at the chamber’s own testing facility last Nov. 10.

    Lawmakers and House workers also continue to undergo regular testing, especially when going inside the plenary hall and visitors are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before they can be granted access to the offices inside the complex.

    All those entering the House need to wear masks and face shields, pass through thermal scanners and disinfection machines, and observe physical distancing at all times.

    House members, employees and guests are required to submit an accomplished health declaration form to inform the chamber of their health status before being allowed to enter its premises. – With Ashzel Hachero and Wendell Vigilia