NEW coronavirus infections soared to 8,773 in a day on Thursday, March 25, 2021, pushing the number of active cases closer to 100,000 and the cumulative case count nearer to 700,000.

In its case bulletin at 4 p.m. Thursday, the Department of Health (DOH) listed 99,891 active cases in hospitals and isolation facilities, most of which are mild cases.

The active cases constitute 14.4 percent of the cumulative case count of 693,048.

With cases averaging 7,455 a day in the last seven days from March 19 to 25, the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) caseload is likely to breach 700,000 on Friday, March 26.

The daily positivity rate climbed to 16.1 percent out of 35,480 tested as of noon of March 24, indicating that one in six individuals tested is infected.

During the meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, March 24, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said the cases will likely continue to rise if the additional restrictions imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR) and provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are not strictly enforced and followed.

Duque also emphasized again the need to comply with the minimum public health standards such as proper wearing of face masks and face shields, physical distancing and hand sanitation.

“Protektahan po natin ang ating mga sarili at mga mahal sa buhay sa pamamagitan ng pananatili po sa bahay, paggamit ng face mask, at palagiang paghuhugas ng kamay at paglilinis ng mga frequently touched surfaces, 'yon pong mga madalas hawakan na mga gamit,” Duque said.

“Ang digmaan pong ito ay talagang laban sa Covid-19 at 'yong tinatawag nating battlefield nasa katawan po ng bawat mamamayan,” he added.

The DOH case bulletin also listed 56 additional mortalities, raising the death toll to 13,095. Given the runaway numbers of new infections and relatively low number of deaths, the case fatality rate further declined to 1.89 percent.

There were 574 additional recoveries, bringing the total to 580,062.

Based on the DOH tracker, the highest 14-day running total of new cases as of March 24 were in Quezon City (7,729), Manila (5,723), Cavite (3,718) and Bulacan (3,566).

Pasay City, which had the fifth highest running total in recent days, was overtaken by Rizal province which had 2,997 new cases in the last two weeks to March 24.

Among the regions, NCR had the highest 14-day running total of 37,190, followed by Calabarzon with 10,424, Central Luzon with 5,878, Central Visayas with 4,182 and Cagayan Valley with 1,841.

In the NCR (Metro Manila), there were 43 facilities with critical occupancy rates of more than 85 percent as of March 23, while 19 were at high risk, 7 at moderate risk and 83 in the safe zone.

In Calabarzon, 47 facilities were considered critical, 23 high risk, 11 moderate risk and 111 in the safe zone. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)