New record highs in COVID cases, recoveries

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    A walk-in COVID testing center in Manila. (Photo by Rhoy Cobilla)
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    THE Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported 3,954 new coronavirus cases (COVID-19) and 38,075 new recoveries from the deadly virus, both record highs in the country’s fight against the pandemic.

    The new cases topped the July 8 record of 2,539 last July 8 and brought the total number of cases in the country to 89,374.

    Overall, the total number of survivors rose to 65,064, with Thursday’s recoveries surpassing by miles the previous record of 4,325 reported last July 13.

    On the downside, however, there were 23 new deaths, raising the number of fatalities to 1,983.

    Globally, as of July 29, there were 16,558,289 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 656,093 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

    The DOH attributed the new record highs in cases and recoveries to its continuing data reconciliation efforts with local government units (LGUs).

    “These massive data reconciliation efforts have resulted in faster and more accurate tagging of health statuses,” the agency said.

    It said the newly-formed “Oplan Recovery” program was responsible in tagging 37,166 of the new recoveries yesterday. The other 909 validated recoveries were from the reports coming from regional epidemiological surveillance units.

    “Oplan Recovery is an initiative that the Department activated to monitor the status of confirmed COVID-19 cases,” the DOH said, adding the high recovery figures was aided by the amended classification of recovered COVID-19 patients.

    It said this was in accordance with the guidelines provided under DOH Department Memorandum No 2020-0258 as well as the clinical protocols followed by the US CDC, European CDC, and India.

    “Following clinical practice guidelines and our technical advisory groups, patients with mild or no symptoms are tagged as recovered 14 days from the date of onset of symptoms or by date specimen collection,” the DOH said.

    “Upon assessment of a licensed physician, the patient can be tagged as recovered after completion of the 14-day isolation period,” it added.

    Previously, the DOH required COVID-19 patients to test negative twice before they are tagged as having recovered.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs reported 15 new COVID-19 cases among overseas Filipinos but no new fatality.

    The number of overseas Filipinos infected with the virus since its outbreak rose to 9,407 in 71 countries.

    One patient has recovered, bringing the recoveries so far to 5,462, while 3,279 are still undergoing treatment.

    The DFA reported that Europe now has 1,108 Filipinos infected with the virus from Wednesday’s 1,103 while the number from Asia and the Pacific region rose to 904 from 894.

    Europe and the Asia Pacific registered 95 and 6 deaths, respectively.

    The Middle East and African regions remained as the place with the highest number of Filipinos infected with the virus and death toll at 6,690 and 394, respectively.

    The Americas reported 705 cases and 171 deaths.

    Meanwhile, an official of the National Bureau of Investigation has tested positive for COVID-19, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

    “Yes, it’s confirmed but we can’t disclose the identity. He is in quarantine now,” Guevarra said in a text message.

    Guevarra said the bureau has already taken the necessary precautions, “including a temporary shutdown, contact tracing, and self-quarantines.”

    Last week, the NBI headquarters in Manila was placed on lockdown from July 22 to 26 to undergo sanitation and disinfection as part of the precautionary measures against the deadly virus.

    Guevarra said then he was assured by NBI OIC Eric Distor that enforcement operations of the bureau will continue despite the lockdown. The NBI is the main investigating body under the DOJ. – With Ashzel Hachero

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