Over 3,000 new COVID-19 cases logged in PH for the first time since October

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The country on Friday recorded over 3,000 new COVID-19 infections for first time in nearly five months. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — The country on Friday recorded over 3,000 new COVID-19 infections for the first time in nearly five months.

The Department of Health's latest bulletin noted 3,045 new cases, which pushed the total to 587,704. The last time there were more than 3,000 new cases reported in a day was on Oct. 16, when the country recorded 3,139 new infections,.

Of the total number, 6.8% or 40,074 are active cases or those who are currently ill. This is another four-month high since the last time the department counted over 40,000 active cases was on Oct. 31. The department also reported a 9.1% daily positivity rate on Wednesday and on Thursday, which is the highest over the past six months. The last time the country recorded positivity rates of at least 9% was in September.

The death toll is now at 12,423 or 2.11% of the case count after 19 more patients succumbed to the disease. Meanwhile, 178 got better, raising the recovery count to 535,207, or 91.1% of the COVID-19 tally.

The DOH said it reclassified three survivors as fatalities after validation and removed eight duplicates, including five recoveries. Data from five COVID-19 laboratories were not included in the total as they were not able to submit their reports on time, it added.

On the same day, the OCTA Research Team updated its projection for Metro Manila's rising case count from 2,000 per day at the end of the month to up to 4,000. The new projection comes after it identified Pasay City's Barangay 76 as a coronavirus hotspot and issued a warning on Metro Manila's recent daily average of over 900 cases.

The researchers found Barangay 76 to be the "main cluster" of infections after it logged 128 new cases from February 26 to March 4, the highest average daily count in the city. Metro Manila's positivity rate has risen by one point every week, up to an average of 7% over the past seven days.

Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced 52 new cases of the B.1.351 variant, or the South Africa variant, and another 31 cases of the B.1.1.7 or the UK variant. These brought the total count of the South Africa variant to 58, and 118 for the UK variant. These include 48 cases of the South Africa variant and 28 cases of the UK variant in Metro Manila.

Among Filipinos abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced 27 new infections. The total number is at 15,079 in 87 countries with 3,693 cases verified by the DOH, according to the DFA. The death toll remained at 1,033 while the recovery count rose to 9,526 after 13 more patients got better. There are also 4,520 Filipinos undergoing treatment.

With the high daily case log today, infectious diseases expert Dr. Benjamin Co said health officials must not be complacent in their pandemic response especially with the start of the national vaccination program this week.

Co warned the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the country may overwhelm the country's healthcare system if these cases are not addressed.

"The more cases there are, the more lethal it eventually becomes. The more people that do get it (COVID-19), the transmissibility in a vulnerable population is much higher," Co told CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Friday.

Co appealed to everyone to get vaccinated, regardless of brand, especially health workers and other frontliners in the priority list of the national vaccination program.