Philippines: Covid-19 cases still going up but hospital admissions low

DOH officer in charge Vergeire said the rise in cases should not cause concern as hospitalisations and critical cases still remain manageable.

Dona Z. Pazzibugan

Dona Z. Pazzibugan

Philippine Daily Inquirer


DOH officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire (File photo from the Department of Health)

March 28, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Detected COVID-19 cases continue to go up although hospital admissions remain low, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.

In the past week, there were 185 COVID-19 cases reported daily, 11 percent higher compared to the 167 daily cases reported in the week before.

Of the 1,298 new confirmed infections last week, 10 were in serious or critical condition.

According to the DOH COVID-19 bulletin, 307 out of the nearly 3,000 admitted COVID-19 patients were in severe or critical condition.

The confined patients comprised around 34 percent of 8,626 individuals still infected with the virus as of March 26.

The healthcare utilization rate, however, remains at a safe level, with 14 percent of COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 16.5 percent of non-ICU beds occupied.

The DOH also confirmed an additional 60 deaths due to the coronavirus though most of them occurred months ago.

This brought the country’s official COVID-19 death toll to 66,342 out of about four million confirmed cases since the pandemic began three years ago.

Last week, the country recorded its biggest hike in infections in recent weeks although a health expert said it was likely due to a backlog in cases.

A total of 311 cases were reported on March 24, a marked increase compared to 137 infections from the day before.

The last time COVID-19 cases in the country rose above 300 was on Jan. 22, when 399 new cases were recorded.

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Rontgene Solante, however, told the Inquirer that the sudden increase was “most likely a backlog” and not a cause for alarm.

According to him, a single-day hike was not significant, adding that more than 300 cases in a population of 100 million was “very small.”

Still, he said that constant monitoring of cases was vital, with the presence of highly immune-evasive Omicron variants in the country.

“I highly predict that with Omicron XBB.1.5 already detected in the Philippines, there will be a slight uptick in cases,” Solante said.

DOH officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire had also said that the recent rise in COVID-19 cases should not cause concern, as hospitalizations and critical cases remained manageable.

As of March 19, a total of 78,443,972 individuals were fully vaccinated, which was about 80 percent of the country’s 110 million population.

However, only 23.81 million of them had gotten at least one booster shot.

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