The death toll from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines climbed to 71 on Sunday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported three new fatalities, while the number of cases rose by 343, the highest single-day increase so far, bringing the total number of cases to 1,418.
The DOH also recorded seven new recoveries for a total of 42.
The Health Department explained earlier that they expected a surge in COVID-19 cases this month as this reflected the improved testing capacity of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and several sub-national laboratories across the country.
The RITM, which conducts 900 to 1,000 tests a day, had committed itself to clearing its test backlog in three days, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.
The sub-national laboratories, meanwhile, were capable of conducting 80 to 160 tests each day.
“Mas marami na po ang napo-proseso ngayon kaya nakakahabol na po tayo sa ating backlog ng mga nakaraang linggo. Dagdag pa rito ay ang pagsasagawa rin ng contact tracing,” Vergeire said at a virtual press briefing.
Data from DOH as of Sunday afternoon showed that a total of 2,686 people had been tested for COVID-19, while there were 874 persons under investigation and 6,321 under monitoring.
A total of 920 people had already tested negative for the disease, while 667 others were still awaiting the results of their test.
Three new deaths
The three latest fatalities, all hypertensive Filipino males in their 70s, were identified as Patients 859, 900, and 718.
Patient 859 was a 70-year old Quezon City resident with no travel history. He died on March 23 but his COVID-19 test results only came back positive on March 26. He died due to cardiopulmonary arrest, acute respiratory failure, and COVID-19 but also had diabetes and bronchial asthma.
Patient 900 was a 71-year old from Iloilo with no travel history who died on March 21 but only tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27. He died of acute respiratory distress syndrome, high-risk community-acquired pneumonia, and COVID-19 but also had cardiac disease and dengue.
Patient 718 was a 78-year old Manila resident with no travel history who died on March 26 due to acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to COVID-19. He also had chronic kidney disease. — DVM, GMA News