THE Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, April 16, 2021, reported more than 10,000 new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in six of the recent eight days, pushing the number of active infections to a new high.
Deaths from Covid-19 exceeded 100 for the eighth consecutive day while recoveries topped 500 for the third day in a row, the DOH case bulletin on Friday also showed.
There were 10,726 new Covid-19 cases Friday, raising the number of active cases to a new record of 193,476.
These made up 21.1 percent of the 914,971 cumulative case count in the Philippines.
There were 145 additional mortalities, which increased the death toll to 15,738. The case fatality rate remained at 1.72 percent.
Covid-19 deaths have exceeded 100 a day since April 9, reaching 1,623 in the recent eight days from April 9 to 16, or an average of nearly 203 a day.
The DOH case bulletin also listed 650 new recoveries, increasing the total to 705,757.
Testing output improved to 41,905 as of noon of April 15, with positivity rate remaining high at 19.7 percent.
The National Capital Region (NCR), or Metro Manila, continued to post the highest 14-day running total of new cases at 55,681 as of April 15, according to the DOH tracker.
NCR’s cumulative Covid-19 case count has reached 401,917 since the pandemic began. Of this number, 5,871 had died, translating to a case fatality rate of 1.46 percent as of April 15.
Other regions with a high number of new cases in the last 14 days to April 15 were Calabarzon with 21,827, Central Luzon with 12,377 and Cagayan Valley with 4,980.
Western Visayas region overtook Cordillera and Ilocos to enter the top five in terms of the highest new cases, with a 14-day running total of 3,756.
As of April 14, more than 85 percent of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the NCR were occupied.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said hospitals in six cities have reached full capacity for Covid-19 patients.
Based on the DOH tracker, 54 hospitals were considered critical in terms of Covid-19 occupancy while 24 were at high risk, 13 at moderate risk and 63 were in the safe zone.
Improving the health system’s capacity in the NCR and neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal is one of four main areas identified by the DOH for reinforcement during the implementation of stricter quarantine protocols in the area.
Others are testing, contact tracing, and adherence to the minimum public health standards and quarantine protocols.
To decongest hospitals, Duque said LGUs have been urged to put up triage systems to refer mild and asymptomatic cases to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMF).
These triage systems will soon be linked to the One Hospital Command Center, now known as One Covid-19 Referral Center, to ensure that no patient who needs urgent hospital care is turned away.
“Hundreds have been accommodated through the One Hospital Command Center. We aim to help thousands more,” Duque said.
A total of 3,436 beds for Covid-19 patients were added to cater to NCR plus patients while 136 health workers from Visayas and Mindanao have been deployed to NCR hospitals to augment the medical workforce.
Meanwhile, Duque said testing output over the last two weeks has averaged 52,000 a day, with the highest recorded on April 8 at 63,839.
He noted that the DOH has issued guidelines for rapid antigen and saliva tests to ramp up testing for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Results of antigen testing in Luzon will soon be included in DOH’s daily case bulletins.
Digital contact tracing system staysafe.ph will be piloted in Pasig City this week to improve contact tracing, Duque added. (Marites Villamor-Ilano with a report from HDT / SunStar Philippines)