401 COVID deaths mark new single-day high in PH
The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday recorded 401 deaths due to COVID-19—the highest single-day tally of fatalities since the pandemic began.
The deaths pushed the national toll to 14,520.
While 213 of the number reported on Friday were reclassified from their earlier listing as recoveries, the DOH had yet to provide an explanation as to when exactly the other deaths occurred.
The deaths reported on Friday exceeded the previous record of 382 announced on April 6. The DOH explained the high number of deaths on that day as being due to a “technical issue.”
Meanwhile, the DOH reported 12,225 new cases, the third-highest tally of new infections since the pandemic began. This brought the total number of cases nationwide to 840,554.
178K active cases
There were 946 new recoveries tallied on Friday, which raised the total number of survivors to 647,683.
The DOH also said there were still 178,351 active cases, or currently sick patients. The number is also the highest since the pandemic began.
Of the active cases, the majority, or 97.5 percent are mild, 1.45 percent are asymptomatic, 0.4 percent are critical, 0.5 percent are severe and 0.27 percent are moderate.
Hospitals in the capital region continued to be overwhelmed, with 80 percent of intensive care unit beds occupied and 72 percent of isolation beds in use.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said “anecdotal reports” indicated that the utilization rate in Metro Manila could be much higher, since some level 1 hospitals, which were not equipped to handle COVID-19 cases, were included in the computation.
The number of cases continues to climb nearly two weeks after the government declared an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan.
Strict MECQ an option
OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye told the Inquirer that it was recommending the extension of ECQ for one more week.
“But if the government chooses to downgrade, our position is that a strict MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) for two weeks minimum is needed,” he said.
OCTA on Friday reported that the reproduction number, or the rate by which the virus is spreading, had fallen further in Metro Manila from 1.88 before the Holy Week to 1.32 on April 8.
But the research group said this was likely to increase in the coming days.
Rye noted that the reproduction number was “not sufficient” to downgrade the quarantine status, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the four nearby provinces.
“We need to also ensure that our hospitals continue to have the capacity to deal with this surge. We cannot open unless we have managed the surge in transmissions,” he said.
Reopening the economy would not be feasible when hospitals in these areas “continue to be overwhelmed by patients as they are now,” Rye added.
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