“OPLAN RECOVERY is an initiative that the DOH activated to monitor the statuses of confirmed COVID-19 cases, particularly deaths and recoveries, to ensure that our data is updated and accurate. Since its activation, DOH has reported over 4,000 time-based recoveries as of July 13 and over 37,000 time-based recoveries last July 30,” DOH said in a Facebook post.
DOH earlier drew flak for its so-called “mass recovery” but DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire earlier explained the 37,000 recoveries in one day is a result of the re-tagging of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases as recovered. The new measure is part of the improved data harmonization among government agencies, she added.
DOH’s Department Memorandum 2020-0258 said asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 should be tagged as recovered 14 days from onset of symptom or date of swab collection.
“We decided in DOH, together with our experts, na iyong mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases ang isasama sa Oplan Recovery because it will take so much time kung aantayin pa natin [lahat ng reporting units], baka ma mis-tag pa natin, mas mahirap,” Vergeire said in an online forum.
“This coming Sunday, we are going to have another round of time-based tagging of recoveries. Every Sunday, gagawin na natin yan, para di tayo nag-ba-bulk ng announcement,” she added.
DOH to release time-based COVID-19 recoveries by August 16
Vergeire said such new way of tagging COVID-19 recoveries is already being done in the United States, Europe, and India.
“The US, Europe Center for Disease Control and India, they also implement this time-based tagging of recoveries, kasi di na tayo gumagamit ng test [to confirm recovery] kasi itong RT-PCR test ay napaka-sensitive. Kapag tinitest natin [ng RT-PCR] ang individuals [na mild and asymptomatic] after 14 days, nagte-test pa rin ng positive kahit we know that they are not infectious anymore,” she said.
The DOH official added the time-based tagging system of recoveries would not be used so the public would not criticize the government’s response to the pandemic.
“We are not avoiding criticism. We are accustomed to criticism. Ayaw lang natin na natatakot ang mga tao at para naiintindihan nila bakit ganun ang number of recoveries,” Vergeire said.