COVID-19 cases rise to 380, death toll now at 25, recoveries at 17

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 22) — The number of people with the coronavirus disease in the Philippines has jumped further to 380, with fatalities now at 25, and recoveries at 17, the Health Department reported Sunday.

Among the new deaths are an 81-year-old Filipino man with diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease, a 79-year-old woman who is hypertensive, a 69-year-old man who is diabetic and hypertensive, and a 34-year-old man who is diabetic.

Also among the new fatalities reported by the Health Department are a 60-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man.

Among those who have survived the viral disease is a 73-year-old man from Quezon City. He is within the age group considered to be at high risk for the disease.

The others who just recovered are the following: a 51-year-old Filipino woman from San Juan City, a 38-year-old Taiwanese man from Makati City and a 26-year-old man from Quezon City.

A total of 73 more people tested positive for the disease on Saturday, a slower rise compared to the previous day's 77, which was the largest single-day increase since the start of the outbreak in January, Health Department spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire said.

Vergeire attributed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases to more testing being conducted after the Philippines received more test kits from various donors.

At kahit na itong pagtaas ay nakakalungkot na balita, maganda na rin po na ang ating malaman kung sino ang positive sa COVID-19 para sila po kaagad ay mabigyan ng kaukulang pagaalaga,” Health Department spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire said.

[Translation: And even if this is sad news, it’s better to know who are positive for COVID-19 so they will be given the proper care.]

However, the Health Department discouraged doctors to use rapid test kits for COVID-19, as these may give out false negative results, especially when a patient is just in the initial stages of infection.

Vergeire said the best way to test for COVID-19 is using a polymerase chain reaction machine, which detects the DNA of the virus that causes the disease.

CNN Philippines Multi-platform Writer Xave Gregorio contributed to this report.