THE Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, reported 6,128 new infections and 106 additional mortalities from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the highest in more than one month.
The new infections, which were the lowest in eight days, brought the total case count for the month of March to 171,285.
This exceeded the sum of the cases reported in the months of August and December 2020 at 127,465 and 42,434, respectively.
This also translated to an average of 5,525 cases a day, about 35 percent higher than the 4,111 average number of cases in August.
In its case bulletin issued at past 4 p.m. Wednesday, DOH reported a cumulative case count of 747,288 in the country.
Active cases in hospitals and isolation facilities went up further to a new high of 130,245, or 17.4 percent of the total caseload.
Of this number, DOH said 95.8 percent have mild symptoms, 2.6 percent are asymptomatic, 0.38 percent are moderately ill, 0.6 percent developed the severe form of Covid-19 and another 0.6 percent are in critical condition.
With the 106 additional mortalities, the Covid-19 death toll increased to 13,297. The case fatality rate remained at 1.78 percent.
There were 491 new recoveries, bringing the total to 603,746 or 80.8 percent of the cumulative caseload.
The daily positivity rate remained elevated at 19.9 percent. There were 39,775 samples tested as of noon of March 30.
New cases nationwide first surpassed the 2020 peak (6,958 on August 10) on March 19, when the DOH announced 7,103 infections. Cases have since continued to swell, breaching 8,000 on March 22, 9,000 on March 26 and 10,000 on March 29.
On March 27, the partial case count for March 2020 reached 136,370, surpassing the 127,465 in the entire month of August 2020, the highest monthly tally for 2020.
The seven-day running total in late March has been surpassing the case count for the entire months of November and December 2020, and January and February 2021.
On March 16 to 22, total cases reached 44,992, higher than the 42,434 cases in the entire month of December.
The seven-day total for March 19 to 25 reached 52,184, exceeding the 50,901 cases in November 2020, 42,434 cases in December 2020, 51,554 cases in January 2021, and 50,734 in February 2021.
In the last seven days from March 25 to 31, cumulative cases reached 63,121, about 6,000 shy of the October 2020 case count of 69,035 and almost equivalent to half of the 127,465 in August 2020.
The National Capital Region (NCR) continued to account for the highest number of new cases as of March 30.
In the last 14 days, the DOH tracker showed the NCR had 55,057 new cases, followed by Calabarzon (16,496), Central Luzon (9,310), Central Visayas (4,118) and Cagayan Valley (3,533).
Among the cities and provinces, Quezon City had the highest 14-day running total of 10,789 as of March 30, followed by Manila with 8,601, Cavite with 5,891, Bulacan with 5,643 and Rizal with 4,750.
As of March 29, the number of health facilities with critical Covid-19 occupancy rates of more than 85 percent in the NCR has increased to 49 while those at high risk went up to 22.
There were also 10 facilities at moderate risk while the number of facilities in the safe zone decreased to 68.
Regionwide, more than three of every four intensive care unit (ICU) beds for Covid-19, or nearly 76 percent, were occupied in the NCR as of March 29 while nearly 70 percent of the isolation beds and about 59 percent of the ward beds were in use.
More than half, or 57 percent, of the mechanical ventilators in the region were in use.
In Cagayan Valley, the number of health facilities that have reached a critical level in terms of Covid-19 occupancy went up to 23 as of March 29 from 16 on the previous day. There were four facilities at high risk, 6 at moderate risk and 31 in the safe zone.
Regionwide, occupancy of ICU beds for Covid-19 patients went up to more than 75 percent on March 29 from 67 percent on the previous day.
Occupancy of isolation and ward beds also increased to nearly 70 percent and over 80 percent, respectively, while the proportion of mechanical ventilators in use went up to around 65 percent, or 40 out of 65. (Marites Villamor-Ilano with HDT / SunStar Philippines)