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Deaths flood new DoH count

Gabbie Parlade

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The Philippines reported its highest single-day number of deaths on Monday following the adoption of a new format of case reporting by the Department of Health (DoH).

The DoH, as of 12 July, listed 162 COVID-19 deaths with 18. These were recorded in the past weeks and 33 others came in the first weeks of July.

Initially, the DoH did not include in its reports on Sunday the daily case update that was attributed to the volume of data validated and the change in the format currently adopted.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire revealed that in ramping up its data reconciliation, many recoveries and deaths were found to have been unreported.

“With this harmonization, we were able to find that a lot of these patients were not tallied in our office because we are cleaning our data, we also saw a lot of deaths,” she said.

Vergeire added the increase in the reports were due to the delay on the validation of cases.

Of the total number of fatalities, only 51 were reported within July while 90 occurred in June, 20 in May and one in April.

The largest percentage, however, at 61 percent is Region VII (Central Visayas) followed by the National Capital Region (NCR) at 23 percent.

Other regions in the count also included Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Eastern Visayas, the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“One too many deaths are a concern. But only 18 were reported last week, and we see that all deaths were due to the thorough acquisition of data among LGU (local government units),” she said in this morning’s virtual presser.

She also said that the DoH is still expecting more reports of recoveries and cases to be added to the total tally as it harmonizes its data with the local government units.

“Our data collection team will do the data reconciliation every week so there may be days where the reported cases won’t be as high as what we’ve reported today,” she said.

Meanwhile, Vergeire clarified that home quarantine protocols are not entirely discouraged among mild and asymptomatic patients but only with sufficient monitoring and resources.

“They have their own room with their own restroom in the house, and that we can be sure they are adequately monitored,” she said.

“If these conditions cannot be complied, then the best would still be in temporary treatment and monitoring facilities,” she added.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles earlier said that the Inter-Agency Task Force is now advising COVID-19 patients to be referred to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities rather than undergoing home quarantine.

Nograles said that this is due to a higher chance of infection among household members should they continue to house infected patients.

“We’re now shifting that even asymptomatic patients will be given a priority in facility quarantine areas. Anyway, we have a number of facilities that can still accommodate mild cases,” he said.

National Task Force Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. explained that the move was attributed to the spread of cases in Cebu City after about 1,900 patients under home quarantine became the sources of infection in many of the local communities.

As of 11 July, Vergeire said that 12,684 suspected and probable cases of COVID-19 are currently under home quarantine where some had already been transferred by the LGU to temporary treatment facilities.

She likewise added that last Friday’s data says the facilities managed by local government units still have 74.57 percent available beds, while Mega Ligtas facilities under the national government still have about 61.32 percent availability rate.

To date, the country has reported 56,259 total confirmed cases where over 38,000 were identified as active cases.

In its latest data, the World Health Organization showed that the Philippines is still in second among the Western Pacific Region countries with the most number of cases reported behind China — the epicenter of the virus.

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