The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reported three new fatalities from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines bringing the country’s total to 71 while adding 343 cases, the highest single-day increase so far, bringing the total number of cases to 1,418.

The DOH earlier said they were expecting the in COVID-19 cases due to the improved testing capacity of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and several sub-national laboratories across the country.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday that the RITM committed to clear its test backlog in three day.  The RITM conducts 900 to 1,000 tests a day while the sub-national laboratories conduct 80 to 160 tests each day.

A total of 2,686 people had been tested for COVID-19, while there were 874 persons under investigation (PUI) and 6,321 persons under monitoring (PUM), data from the DOH revealed

The health department also reported seven new recoveries for a total of 42.

The three latest fatalities were all hypertensive senior Filipino males.

Patient 718 was a 78-year old Manila resident with no travel history.  He died on March 26 due to acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to COVID-19. He was also suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Patient 859, a 70-year old Quezon City resident with no travel history, died on March 23.  His COVID-19 test results became available only on March 26. He died due to cardiopulmonary arrest, acute respiratory failure, and COVID-19.  He suffered from diabetes and bronchial asthma.

Patient 900 was a 71-year old from Iloilo with no travel history.  He died on March 21 but only tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27. He died of acute respiratory distress syndrome, high-risk community-acquired pneumonia and COVID-19.  He also had cardiac disease and dengue.  (Rommel F. Lopez)