DOH: COVID-19 case tallies to see 'irregular' spike as more laboratories submit data

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — The Department of Health on Wednesday forewarned the public to expect spikes in the daily reported cases of COVID-19 as more testing laboratories submit complete data.

Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said late submissions from laboratories will come in within the week as more testing facilities adjust and comply with DOH's requirement to submit the patient's complete address and personal numbers for easier contact tracing.

"Majority of the laboratories complied but not all of them. This means there are confirmed cases per day that had not been reported yet officially and will come out this week because nga ngayon nakaka-comply na ang laboratories (because laboratories are now complying). We may have an irregularly high number of cases in the coming days as these cases from these laboratories get reported," she said in an online media forum.

The DOH issued an order that starting September 1, all case investigation forms submitted by the laboratories should have the complete personal details of the patient before it can be encoded. Failure to do so would mean failure to submit testing data. The number of non-submitting laboratories are gradually increasing this week. From 19 on Sunday, DOH said 34 out of the 115 accredited laboratories in the country did not submit their data, which means all the cases from these facilities are not yet included in the daily tally.

Vergeire expressed confidence that even as more laboratories comply and submit data, the daily COVID-19 tally will not spike to an alarming level with the country's continuously improving contact tracing efforts and decreasing hospital and critical care utilization rate. On Tuesday, the DOH reported 1,383 infections — the lowest daily rise since July 14. However, it more than doubled to 3,281 the next day.

"Will this change the optimistic view of our trend? Regardless of the reporting delay, we remain cautiously optimistic that we are beginning to see the fruits of our increased response especially here in the National Capital Region," she added.

She said starting next week, laboratories will have to comply with the order. Also among the new protocols to be enforced starting next week is the DOH's increased effort to gather COVID-19 data down to the barangay level in order to be able to effectively identify which areas need to be placed on granular or localized lockdown.

Vergeire also said the Philippines can claim success in the fight against COVID-19 if the country has surpassed 28 days of no new infections.

“Kapag dumating ang panahon na in 2 incubation periods, like it’s 28 days na walang naitatalang kaso, doon natin masasabi talaga na we had been successful in all of these things we are doing for this response," she said.

[Translation When the time comes that we haven't recorded a new case in 28 days, then we can say we have been successful in our response.]

Citing the recent finding of experts from the University of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the country's coronavirus curve has flattened.