By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday (May 7) that the total number of individuals infected with the novel coronavirus is now 10,343.
The DOH said 339 new cases were recorded as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
Of the new cases, the Health department said 205 cases or 61 percent came from the Central Visayas, 110 cases or 32 percent from the National Capital Region, and the remaining 24 cases or seven percent from other regions.
The tally of recovered patients also climbed to 1,618, after 112 individuals survived the respiratory illness.
The country’s death toll is now at 685 as 27 new fatalities were reported.
Based on the latest situational report of the World Health Organization (WHO), there are now 3,588,773 persons afflicted with COVID-19 worldwide, while 247,503 people died.
In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the number of confirmed cases is expected to rise as the country’s testing capacity continues to increase.
“Nais kong bigyan diin na hindi natin ito dapat ikabahala. Ang pagtaas ng bilang ng confirmed cases ng COVID-19, kasabay ng paglakas ng ating testing capacity, ay isang indikasyon na mas lumalakas pa ang response measure at mas nagiging aggressive tayo na mas makapagtest, detect, and isolate,” Vergeire said.
(I want to emphasize that we should not worry about this. The increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, coupled with our increasing testing capacity, is an indication that the response measure is becoming stronger and that we are becoming more aggressive ing testing, detecting, and isolating.)
“Kung atin pong ikukumpara ang bilang na ito sa iba, makikita natin na bagamat meron tayong bagong kaso araw-araw, hindi ito tumataas sinlaki ng pagtaas ng COVID-19 cases sa ibang bansa,” she added.
(Even though we are detecting new cases, the number is not increasing dramatically compared with other countries.)
Vergeire also added that they are now addressing the backlogs on processing specimen samples for COVID-19. To note, the current backlog of the DOH is at 8,000 tests.
“Ang ibig sabihin sa pag-increase ng case doubling time ay nagkaroon tayo ng mas mahabang panahon na mag-process pa rin ng ating test results,” she said.
(The increase in case doubling time means we have a longer time to process our test results.)
Vergeire said there are now 23 licensed laboratories nationwide that can process COVID-19 test results, adding that they have tested 130,990 unique individuals. Of that figure, 117,322 individuals turned out negative for the novel coronavirus.
Medical supplies from UAE
In a related development, the Philippines received seven metric tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies from the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The DOH said the government of UAE handed over the donation of four metric tons of PPEs such as surgical gloves, face shields, and shoe covers, and three metric tons of assorted medical supplies to support the country’s efforts against COVID-19.
“We are very thankful for the support we received from the Government of the United Arab Emirates, an assurance that we are not alone in this fight,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.