There have been 1,803 new cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday, Oct. 31.
The new cases brought the number of active cases to 42,462. The total number of confirmed cases in the country currently stands at 380,729.
Rizal province recorded the highest number of new COVID-19 infections with 97 cases, followed by Davao City (93), Quezon City (86), Cavite (66), and Pasig City (65).
The DOH latest case bulletin also showed 606 new recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 331,046. It also reported 36 more fatalities, raising the death count to 7,221.
In a related development, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, one of the COVID-19 licensed laboratories in the country, announced that it will temporarily suspend its operation on Nov. 1 and 2 as “a precaution for the imminent landfall of Typhoon ‘Rolly.’”
“This temporary halt means that we give serious attention to addressing challenges in our infrastructure and equipment, which, at this point, may not be able to sustain the repeated onslaught of typhoons,” said RITM Director Celia Carlos in a statement.
“We shall proceed with these risk mitigation measures fully understanding of our part in the ongoing outbreak response, while also ensuring the safety of our employees, stakeholders, and everyone who transports specimens to our facility,” she added.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire assured that the temporary shutdown of RITM will not affect the DOH’s analysis on the country’s COVID-19 data.
“When it comes to data analysis, it’s not going to affect. Although makikita natin na medyo bababa ang ating output for laboratories. Pero kailangan po natin maintindihan with this kind of calamity, maari pong masira nito ang mamahaling equipment, maaring masira nito ang mga facilities natin,” she said during a public press briefing on Saturday.
(Although we will see that our output for laboratories will decrease slightly. But we need to understand that with this kind of calamity, it can damage expensive equipment, it can damage our facilities.)
“Kapag nagkaroon tayo ng ganyang effects: nasira or something—mas magkakaroon tayo delay sa outputs natin for laboratories. (When we have such effects: damaged [equipment] or something—we will have more delays in our outputs for laboratories). These are preventive measures that we support,” she added.
To note, there are 154 COVID-19 laboratories nationwide that already tested a total of 4,476,195 individuals as of Oct. 30.