Philippines infected count hits 552

MANILA, Philippines, March 25 ------ The number of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country has exceeded 500 after the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 90 new cases yesterday. Based on the latest bulletin of the DOH, 90 more individuals were found afflicted with the disease, bringing the total to 552. Two new patients, however, recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 20.

One of those who recovered is a 21-year-old Filipino female (PH130) from Davao de Oro, who has travel history to the United Kingdom and Qatar, and had bronchial asthma. She was confirmed positive on March 15 and was discharged eight days later. The other is a 76-year-old Filipino female (PH87) from Quezon City, whose sisters, aged 75 and 70 (PH41 and PH44, respectively) and another relative, a 41-year-old male relative (PH112), also got infected. PH87, who is hypertensive and diabetic, was discharged last Sunday. The death toll rose to 35 following the demise of two patients.

The first fatality is a 71-year-old Filipino male (PH215) from Quezon City who had no travel history or exposure to a positive case. He died yesterday from severe pneumonia, hypertensive cardiovascular disease and cardiac dysrhythmia.

The second fatality is a 76-year-old Filipino male (PH239) from Cavite who also had no history of travel and exposure. He died on March 14 from heart failure, community-acquired pneumonia, high risk ST-elevation myocardial infarction and acute respiratory failure.

Among the new confirmed cases of COVID-19 are a star-ranked military officer assigned to a key position at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City and his wife. The senior military officer is now in isolation at the AFP Medical Center on V. Luna Avenue in Quezon City. “The AFP Medical Center is treating a senior military officer and his spouse who tested positive for COVID-19,” AFP chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said in statement released by the AFP Public Information Office yesterday.

Santos added that the infected officer, has a history of foreign travel, and his spouse were admitted to the military medical facility initially as persons under investigation (PUIs) last March 15. The couple, he said, has been undergoing medical management. Both are now asymptomatic. The couple will continue to undergo medical treatment, under the DOH’s strict guidelines, until they have fully recovered.

A senior military officer privy to the health concerns of his colleagues confirmed that indeed, one of them has been found positive for COVID-19. The senior military officer said he himself is on self-imposed quarantine as he was exposed to the COVID-19 positive star-ranked officer. “He is the only one among us who attended the (Commission on Appointments) hearing to have been found positive for now. I myself am now on a self-imposed quarantine because I, along with other senior officers, was with him during our CA confirmation hearing,” the offcer said.

Contact tracing for the infected officer, who used to be assigned in Palawan, showed that he had been to various official foreign and local military events, which include trips to Oman and Jordan, and the Senate confirmation hearing of newly promoted senior military officials.