Duque: We successfully flattened the curve since April

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 15, 2020   •   113

The Philippines has successfully flattened the curve since April, according to the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The Health Secretary said the number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases stabilized from 210 to 220 per day.

“So over time we have been able to stabilize the number of new cases being reported anywhere 210-220 per day. This is the clarification I would like to make,” he said.

Duque said the doubling time of cases and mortality also slowed down. He explained the doubling time went down from around two days to eight days.

“I mentioned that on basis of case doubling time that has actually become longer beyond 7 days, anywhere from 8-12 days. This is an improvement from the initial phase of the outbreak, where case doubling time is about 2.5 days,” according to Duque.

However, former special adviser to the COVID-19 National Task Force (NTF) Dr. Anthony Leachon said the DOH should review their data.

As of July 14, the DOH reported 634 new cases, increasing the total number of cases to 57,545. The Philippines also previously recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a day with 2,434 tallied last July 5. 

“I don’t think we have flattened the curve based on our increase in cases, number of deaths, and full critical care capacity of NCR and Cebu hospitals,” he said in a tweet.

Senator Miguel Zubiri also slammed Duque for his remark and said daily cases increased to over a thousand and the Philippines is soon becoming number one is Southeast Asia in terms of COVID-19 cases.

“The only thing that is flat are the backs of all the poor patients in fully occupied COVID-19 wards all around Metro Manila fighting for their lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a message, Duque said COVID-19 cases in April declined after implementing Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). He also added that COVID-19 cases increased due to the expanded COVID-19 testing. —AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH explains COVID-19 recoveries are symptoms-based, not test-based

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 31, 2020

All the mild and asymptomatic cases that had undergone quarantine for 14 days have been considered recovered after not exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH said this policy is the global standard where symptoms-based is used and not test-based in declaring a recovered COVID-19 patient.

Kapag asymptomatic po siya after 14 days without symptoms, they can already be tagged as recovered pwede na po siyang mag- trabaho (If he is asymptomatic after 14 days without symptoms, he can already be tagged as recovered and resume work), according to DOH Usec. Rosario Vergeire.

Still, Vergeire said that it is important that a recovered individual should have an assessment from a physician confirming his recovery.

The number of daily recoveries went up to over 38,000 on Thursday (July 30), with a total of 65,054 recovered cases. The daily number of cases, meanwhile, went over 3,000.

The DOH said the ‘mass recoveries’ and surge of cases is due to the ‘reconciliation efforts’ of the department to consolidate its data with the data of local government units (LGUs) through Oplan Recovery.

Oplan Recovery is the DOH’s initiative to monitor the status of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

COVID-19 cases in Phl hit 80,000 mark

Maris Federez   •   July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday, July 26, reported that the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country has reached 80,448.

The health department added that “a total of 2,110 confirmed cases are reported based on the total tests done by 66 out of 90 current operational labs.”

The DOH also confirmed 382 recoveries, bringing the total number to 26,110.

The recorded COVID-19 death toll, meanwhile, has reached 1,932 with an additional 39 fatalities.

The department noted that 74 duplicates were removed from the total case count.

DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire has earlier said that although the country has recorded an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the case doubling time has slowed down.

“Ang nakikita po nating dahilan dito ay dahil sa continuously improving na case treatment and management protocols ng ating bansa sa pag-handle ng mga COVID-19 patients,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the possibility of Metro Manila reverting to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will likely happen if the total number of COVID-19 cases reaches 85,000 in July as projected by the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research.

He added, however, that this could be avoided if the public will not ignore the minimum health standards now that many has been allowed to go out. — /mbmf

DOH aims to test 10-M Filipinos for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 21, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) aims to target 10 million Filipinos to undergo testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, however, said the government does not have the capacity to test all citizens, adding that no country has ever had the capacity to do so.

Hindi naman po natin pwede i-test ang bawa’t mamamayan wala pong bansang nakakagawa nito kahit ang pinakamayaman katulad ng United States of America (You cannot test every citizen, no country has done that even the richest ones like the United States of America),” he said.

However, Duque said they target to test 10% of the total population of the country by 2021. This would exceed the ratio testing capacity of America, Duque added.

“[Our target] is 10 million Filipinos to be tested by 2021. We hope to do the test at 32,000 to 40,000 a day,” he said.

READ: DOH to include PUV drivers in expanded COVID-19 testing

The DOH previously announced they will include other workers in their expanded COVID-19 testing while they recently announced the completion of a Filipino-made coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) test kit.

“We still have lots of testing kits. It’s about 2 million plus testing kits still left para gamitin sa goal na gusto natin (to be used to achieve our goal) for us to have sustained capacity for testing,” according to DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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