New COVID-19 cases in Philippines hit record high, death toll crosses 52,000

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Manila [Philippines]: The Philippines reported a record high 26,458 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the total number of the confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 29,36,875.
The country’s Department of Health (DOH) said that the number of active cases or patients still battling the disease soared to 1,02,017 as the positivity rate soared to 43.7 percent. Saturday’s case count surpassed the 26,303 cases tallied on September 11, 2021, while the country was battling the third wave of infections.
Experts said suspected cases of Omicron are fueling surges in communities and further straining the hospitals’ capacity to cope with the continuing pandemic.
The DOH said that 265 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country’s death toll to 52,135. The reported deaths include those who died in the previous months.
“With the enormous number of people being positive with the just short duration of time and most of them are manifesting upper respiratory track symptoms, then I would say there is already community transmission of Omicron variant,” infectious diseases specialist Rontgene Solante told a televised press conference on Saturday.
Indeed, Solante said the government hospitals “are seeing increasing numbers” of COVID-19 patients daily, including the severe and critical cases.
Jonas del Rosario, the spokesperson for the Philippine General Hospital, echoed Solante’s assessment, saying the government-owned hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) has reached full capacity.
“Our ICU right now is full. The ICU ends for COVID-19 patients are 100 percent occupied,” he told a televised press conference, adding the hospital is converting its non-COVID wards to meet the rising demand for COVID-19 beds.
Experts and health authorities warned that cases will continue rising in the coming days. “It will be very scary for the next few weeks,” molecular biologist Nicanor Austriaco of the OCTA Research Group said.
Authorities stressed the need to stay at home if only experiencing mild symptoms and reserve the hospitals for critically-ill COVID-19 patients.
“This is really the important part; the key critical protection that we must do at this time is we must protect our hospitals and our health care workers,” Austriaco added.

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