FOR the first time since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic began, the number of patients who have recovered from the disease in the Philippines exceeded the mortalities.
Confirmed cases, however, continued to increase, reaching 5,453 as of 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 15, with the 230 additional cases in the last 24 hours, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
Fourteen more patients lost their battle with the disease, raising the death toll to 349.
The agency also recorded in the last 24 hours 58 more patients who have recovered, bringing the total number of survivors to 353.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said patients who have recovered and are discharged from the hospital are still required to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.
Globally, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.84 million as of April 14, the World Health Organization said. Of the total, 117,021 had died.
The Philippines has boosted its testing capacity for the novel coronavirus with the accreditation of 15 other testing laboratories nationwide aside from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
Including the RITM, there are now a total of 16 certified laboratories for Covid-19 testing in the country. Of the total, 11 are in the National Capital Region.
Vergeire said the Philippine Red Cross, which was certified Tuesday, began processing Wednesday some specimens from suspected cases.
Other laboratories are: Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center for Cordillera; Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center for Central Visayas; Southern Philippines Medical Center for Davao; Western Visayas Medical Center for Western Visayas; and Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory for Bicol.
Vergeire said 47 other laboratories are undergoing the certification process.
“Inaasahan po na sa mga susunod na araw ay maidadagdag ito sa bilang ng mga fully operational na laboratories ng para maabot natin ang ating goal na 8,000 tests per day sa katapusan ng buwan na ito,” Vergeire said during the DOH virtual press conference Wednesday.
(We hope to certify these 47 additional laboratories so we can reach our goal of 8,000 tests per day by the end of this month.)
As of 6 p.m., April 14, these laboratories have conducted a total of 39,947 individual tests. Of the total, 5,782 were positive and 34,116 were negative.
Vergeire said the number of positive results may be higher than the confirmed cases because all results are still subjected to validation.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said the antibody treatment that President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned on Monday night are still under study.
The treatments being considered are the convalescent plasma therapy, or the transfusion of plasma from a Covid-19 patient who has recovered to a person who is still battling the disease, and the use of tocilizumab or sarilumab, both humanized monoclonal antibodies approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)