By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials reported 490 additional COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total cases to 26,420. The death toll has risen to 1098.

The Department of Health (DOH) said Sunday despite the apparent increase in validated case figures reported in the last two days, there is actually a downward trend in the mortality rate in the country for mid-June.

According to the Health OIC-Undersecretary, Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire, out of the 22 reported deaths on June 13, only four, or 18%, died in the month of June, one each on the following dates: June 3, 4, 6, and 9. The remaining 18 deaths occurred in the previous months but were only recently submitted to the DOH Epidemiology Bureau.

Dr. John Wong of Epimetrics, Inc., Ateneo professor and part of the IATF’s data analytics expert group said “Deaths have increased over the past two days although the median is still 10 per day. However, the recent increase has been due to late reports coming in to the DOH,” he added. According to Wong, the good news is that the Philippines case fatality rate (CFR) is 4.24 which is below the global CFR of over 5.

Lastly, the DOH updated its interim guidelines on expanded risk-based testing of COVID-19 cases. Department Memorandum No. 2020-0285 was adopted in view of the increased RT-PCR (Reverse Transmission Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing capacity of the country.

The new subgroups broadens the coverage of persons to be tested to include suspect cases, individuals with travel history and exposure (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), and healthcare workers with possible exposure (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic).

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The following list of subgroups of individuals are considered at-risk and are eligible for testing, arranged from greatest to lowest need for testing:

●     Subgroup A: patients or healthcare workers with severe/critical symptoms, and relevant history of travel or close contact;

●     Subgroup B: patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, with relevant history of travel or close contact and who are considered vulnerable. These vulnerable populations include the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions that predispose them to severe presentation and complications of COVID-19;

●     Subgroup C: patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, and relevant history of travel or close contact;

●     Subgroup D: patients or healthcare workers with no symptoms but with relevant travel history and close contact;

●     Subgroup E: frontliners indirectly involved in healthcare provision in the response against COVID 19; and

●     Subgroup F: other vulnerable patients such as those with comorbidities, those who will undergo high-risk, elective surgical procedures, those living in confined spaces, and others