PH records over 16,000 new COVID-19 recoveries, as total cases near 190,000

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23) — COVID-19 cases in the country climbed closer to 190,000 on Sunday, with 2,378 new cases confirmed by the Department of Health.

The latest report showed 189,601 people in the country have been infected with the viral illness, with 55,236 active cases, or currently ill patients.

Of the new infections, 42 percent, or 1,022, are from Metro Manila, while 132 are from Cavite, 128 from Laguna, 115 from Rizal, and 96 from Cebu, the DOH said.

It added that 80 percent, or 1,905, of the new cases were detected in the last 14 days.

A new batch of 16,459 patients was also tagged as recovered, for a total of 131,367 survivors of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the death toll further climbed to 2,998, with 32 new deaths. Of this number, 20 happened in August, eight in July, three in June, and one in May.

Time-based recoveries

The sharp increase in the tally of recoveries is due to the DOH’s “Oplan Recovery” program, an initiative to monitor more closely the status of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Oplan Recovery employs a time-based tagging scheme, wherein COVID-19 patients — except for those immunocompromised — are released from isolation facilities after a certain number of days in quarantine, and after symptoms have disappeared upon a doctor’s assessment.

Those with mild or no symptoms can return to the community after at least 14 days of isolation. Meanwhile for severe cases, the quarantine period should be at least 21 days.

The DOH said these patients no longer need to undergo confirmatory RT-PCR testing before being discharged, as long as they have been cleared of the disease by a licensed physician. It explained that the methodology is based on current studies which show that at the 10th day of the illness, the risk of transmitting the virus to other people is significantly reduced.

According to the department, its Central Office generates a list of eligible cases for time-based tagging based on its database entries every Sunday.

The list is forwarded to the DOH’s regional offices for double-checking, with the help of local government units. The data verification is done from Monday to Friday, wherein officials ensure that no death, severe, and critical cases are incorrectly included in the list.

Come weekend, the Central Office again conducts data quality and logic checks on the list and reflects adjustments in its database, before releasing the new data on time-based recoveries in its Sunday case bulletin.

To date, recoveries represent nearly 70 percent of the national COVID-19 case count.

Among Filipinos abroad the Department of Foreign Affairs said one more contracted the disease, while another 26 have recovered. The total number of infections is now at 9,984, with 5,953 recoveries and 733 deaths.

Worldwide, the coronavirus disease has now hit around 23.2 million people and killed over 804,000, based on a tracker maintained by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.