The Philippines recorded over 1,500 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, which is the lowest reported daily increase in cases so far for this month.
The Department of Health (DOH) said there were 1,509 new infections detected, bringing the nationwide tally to 362,243.
Ninety percent of the new cases or 1,356 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 between October 8 to October 21, the DOH said.
The top five areas that logged the most number of new infections were Rizal with 83 cases, Cavite with 82, City of Manila with 66, Baguio City with 65, and Iloilo City with 57.
It was also shown in the latest case update that another 911 patients got cleared from the disease, raising the total number of recoveries to 311,506.
The death toll, however, jumped to 6,747 as 60 more patients died due to COVID-19, noting that 45 deaths were recorded this month, seven in September, and eight in August.
The total number of active cases or those who are still sick is at 43,990, of which 83 percent are mild, 11.6 percent asymptomatic, two percent severe and 3.4 percent critical condition.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the R-Naught or the reproduction number that indicates the possible number of people being infected by a sick person remains less than one.
“Magandang indikasyon yan. We are really hopeful na sana ma sustain na mas matagal. Pero ang kailangan pa rin natin tingnan, we do not want to be complacent at this point kasi nakikita pa rin natin that there are some areas in the country that bagamat meron na tayong less than one transmission ay nakikitaan pa rin natin ang ibang bahagi sa ating bansa ay meron pong mga clusters, meron pong mga karagdagang kaso, may mga pagtaas ng kaso. So kailagan bantayan [That is a good indication. We are really hopeful that we can sustain this. But what we still need to look at, we do not want to be complacent at this point because we still see that there are some areas in the country —that although we already have less than one transmission— we still observe that other parts of the country has clustering of cases and there are those that are still recording increasing number of cases],” said Vergeire in an online forum on Wednesday.
Vergeire said that they are still striving to improve the current turnaround time of some 149 licensed laboratories nationwide in conducting COVID-19 tests which is currently about 36 hours.
“Pero siyempre ang gusto natin ang lahat ng laboratories natin will [But of course we want all our laboratories to] have that turnaround time of less than 24 hours,” said the Health official.
“Once we have provided additional RT-PCR machines to our laboratories, and mabigyan din ng sapat na human resource for health ang mga laboratories natin [and also provide adequate human resources for health to our laboratories], our ideal time really is less than 24 hours,” she added.