The Philippines has reported a record number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases for two consecutive days already amid its ongoing battle with the highly infectious Omicron variant.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the country reached 37,207 on Friday, Jan. 14—the highest single-day tally so far. This figure beat the previous record of 34,021 infections logged the previous day, Jan. 13.
Friday's cases brought the total case count to 3,129,512, wherein 8.5 percent or 265,509 remain active or patients undergoing treatment.
Of the active cases, 8,325 have no symptoms, 252,502 are mild, 2,913 are in moderate condition, 1,469 are severe, and 300 are critical.
There were also 81 new deaths and 9,027 recoveries logged on Friday. The recovery tally went up to 2,811,188 while the death toll stood at 52,815.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that they are currently setting up a mechanism in order to include the antigen test positive results to the official case tally.
“So, kasama po iyan sa gusto nating gawin (it’s part of what we want to do) in the coming days,” said Vergeire during the Malacanang press briefing.
“Meron na po tayong sine-setup na sistema kung saan ang mga nasa bahay ay maari na pong mag-log in, ipapasok lang po nila yung gamit na test at kung ano po ang kanilang resulta (We are already setting up a system where people can now log in, they will just enter the test used and what their results are), and this will be anonymized so we can get numbers of those using antigen test,” she added.
‘Contact tracing still part of strategy’
In a related development, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified that contact tracing is still part of their efforts in curbing the COVID-19 transmission.
“Contact tracing is still part of the strategy, we cannot do away with it. But it is very important in low transmission areas,” said Duque in an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel on Friday.
“We’re not saying it has become unnecessary, it is still very necessary especially in low transmission areas so we can cut the chain of transmission,” he added.
However, in high transmission areas like in the National Capital Region (NCR), contact tracing is not a priority, he said.
Contact tracers can also be tapped in other pandemic response, said Duque.
“If you’re in a high transmission area, the effort of contact tracers will have to be into other activities like home isolation and quarantine monitoring, symptom monitoring which is very effective in reducing transmission; and then enforcement of minimum public health standards in the communities,” he said.
“, complimenting the vaccination team, they need to help because we need to ramp up our vaccination coverage. so madami pa sila pwedeng gawin (So, they can still do other things),” he added.