There is a downward trend in the weekly average number of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.
In an online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the average number of new cases has gone down to 1,000 to 1,200 from the previous average of 3,000 per week.
‘If we look at the number of cases and we look at the trend of the average per week, we can see that it is decreasing,” Vergeire said in Filipino.
She urged the public not to be complacent, however, as there are still areas that are experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases.
Total COVID-19 cases at 307,288
The Philippines logged 3,073 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total to 307,288 in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
The DOH reported 163 recoveries, bringing to 252,665 the total number of patients who have recovered from the disease.
At the same time, the DOH reported 37 new fatalities, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 5,381.
There are 49,242 active cases. Of these, 86.4 percent are mild; 8.7 percent are asymptomatic; 1.5 percent are severe; and 3.4 percent are critical.
Robredo outlines recommendations
In a national address broadcast from her Facebook account, Vice President Leni Robredo outlined her recommendations for the government to solve the COVID-19 crisis.
They are: 1) Set clear and measurable goals in suppressing COVID-19 in the country; 2) Provide additional support to local government units;
3) More comprehensive assistance for small businesses; 4) Help the unemployed find jobs; and 5) Plan for the massive deployment of COVID-19 vaccine once available.
Robredo also called for unity in battling the coronavirus. “The good intentions of national government not enough—strategic and organized action is needed,” she said.
“(We should) be open to ideas, to all suggestions, and to all who are ready to help out and pitch in to beat COVID-19 crisis. The Office of the Vice President only wants to help. It does not want the government to fail. This is not the time to sow divide between the Administration or Opposition—we are all Filipinos,” Robredo added.
Face shield appeal up to IATF-EID
The Health Department said Monday it is up to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to address the appeal of some workers to do away with the requirement to wear face shields.
Employees involved in factory work and construction have appealed for an exemption from the mandatory use of face shields, citing the constraints these bring to their work.
According to Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, workers are finding it hard to fulfill their responsibilities due to the face shield.
Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said that if office workers were finding it difficult to work with face shields, this was certainly the case at construction sites and on factory floors.
Vergeire, however, maintained that the wearing of face shields has been proven to drastically reduce the chance of being infected with COVID-19.
“If you wear a mask, it is 67 percent [reduction of risk being infected with COVID-19. If you also wear a face shield, it could go up to 80 percent. With social distancing, it could go as high as 99 percent. That is why the IATF has maintained its position,” Vergeire said.
305 health workers get COVID-19
DOH on Sunday has reported that 305 more health workers contracted COVID-19 during the past week, raising the total to 9,347 as of Sept. 26.
The DOH, in its daily COVID-19 report, said total recoveries among health workers rose to 8,597 after 417 more recovered from the respiratory disease, while the death toll climbed to 59 with three new fatalities.
The other 690 medical workers are active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine.
The medical professions with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are nurses with 3,263 infections; doctors with 1,719; nursing assistants with 720; medical technologists with 436; and midwives with 227 cases.
Hospitals barred from charging for donated PPEs
Hospitals cannot charge their patients for personal protective equipment (PPE) donated to them, Vergeire said on Monday.
“Yes, they are allowed to charge [for PPEs] under the Department Order 2020 0269, but charging for PPEs which are donated to them is strictly prohibited," Vergeire said in a press briefing.
“We have inventory of these [donated PPEs] to monitor overpricing,” she added.
Vergeire also said hospitals can only charge patients 30 percent of the administrative cost of the hospital’s purchase of the PPEs.