July 14 ------ The Philippines’ tally of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases topped 57,000 on Monday after the Department of Health (DOH) announced new infections—749 “fresh” or newly validated and 87 reported late—bringing the total to 57,006. Total recoveries also rose to 20,371 after a record-high 4,325 more patients recovered from the respiratory illness while the death toll climbed to 1,599 with 65 new fatalities.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 282 of the newly reported recoveries were recorded on Sunday while 54 of the newly reported deaths occurred in June, nine in July, and two in May. Fifty-nine or 91 percent of the new deaths were logged in Region 7, four were in Metro Manila, one was from Region 11, while no region of origin was specified for the last remaining fatality. There are also 35,036 active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine, 92.2 percent of which are mild, 7.1 percent of which are asymptomatic, 0.4 percent are severe, and 0.3 percent are in critical condition.
The DOH said figures reported on Monday were only based on submissions by 57 out of the 82 operational laboratories. Eighty-nine duplicate cases were also removed from the total tally of infections. Vergeire earlier attributed the surge in infections, recoveries, and fatalities in recent weeks to the DOH’s efforts to harmonize data with local government units. “We are experiencing an increase in the number of positive cases due to increase in testing and the identified community transmission. The increase has been gradual and our health system is able to cope with the increasing number of cases,” she said in a briefing.
Meanwhile, the Philippines had 63 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 22 GeneXpert laboratories that had tested a total of 926,252 individuals as of July 12. The DOH also said 46 percent of intensive care unit beds nationwide are currently occupied while 23 percent of mechanical ventilators are in use. Experts from the University of the Philippines earlier projected that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could spike to 80,000 by the end of the month. Malacañang said quarantine restrictions are unlikely to be eased soon, with President Rodrigo Duterte expected to announce his latest directives on the coronavirus response on Wednesday.