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Philippines’ COVID-19 death toll breaches 300; cases rise to 4,932

The death toll from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines has climbed to 315 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 18 more fatalities on Monday as the total number of infections nationwide rose to 4,932  with 284 new cases.

Forty-five more patients have also recovered from the disease, the highest recorded so far, bringing the total recoveries to 242.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 35,804 individuals had been tested for COVID-19 as of Sunday evening, 30,585 of whom tested negative and 5,187 were positive.

“Ang total positive cases ay maaaring mas mataas sa total confirmed cases natin dahil dumadaan pa po tayo sa validation and processing,” she explained at a virtual press briefing.

Ten laboratories across the country have tested 33,814 individuals, 85.4 of whom tested negative while 14.5 percent were positive for the disease, according to data from the DOH as of Saturday.

Five more institutions recently received certification to conduct COVID-19 testing, bringing the total number of testing centers nationwide to 15, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Sunday. 

Earlier on Monday, Vergeire said the DOH will procure test kits good for three months to boost the target testing capacity of 3,000 per day by Tuesday and 8,000 to 10,000 daily by the end of the month. 

The Philippines is also awaiting the delivery of 3,000 COVID-19 test kits from a US-based company that are expected to produce results faster than a polymerase chain reaction machine. 

As the government gears up for mass COVID-19 testing scheduled to begin on Tuesday, the DOH will deploy over 300 volunteer healthcare workers to laboratories.

Vergeire also announced that the number of designated COVID-19 referral hospitals nationwide has increased to 75, while the government has established treatment and monitoring facilities with a cumulative bed capacity of 4,413. —LDF, GMA News