THE Department of Health (DoH) reported that 13 more people have tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Friday, bringing the total to 230.

In a press briefing on Friday, DoH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire reported one new death due to COVID-19, bringing the country’s total number of fatalities to 18.

Meanwhile, no new recoveries were reported. The number of patients who have gotten well still stands at eight.

Ms. Vergeire said five sub-national laboratories are now able to process COVID-19 tests. These are San Lazaro Hospital, the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine, Baguio General Hospital Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, and the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

This development enables the DoH to process 50 to 300 tests per day, Ms. Vergeire added.

She also noted that the DoH is currently setting up other laboratories for COVID-19 testing, at the Western Visayas Medical Center and the Bicol Public Health Laboratory.

Ang UP (University of the Philippines)-National Institutes of Health ay namobilize na para tumulong sila sa atin sa laboratory capacity. Nagsasagawa din po ngayon ng assessment ang DoH and WHO (World Health Organization) para sa additional extension laboratories sa Maynila at pagkatapos naman ay sa Visayas at Mindanao,” Ms. Vergeire added. (UP-National Institutes of Health have mobilized to assist us when it comes to laboratory capacity. The DoH and WHO are also making an assessment for additional extension laboratories in Manila, and later in Visayas and Mindanao.)

Meanwhile, in a press statement released on Friday, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta revealed that he tested negative for COVID-19 after traveling to the Netherlands earlier this month and later on showing symptoms of the disease.

The Chief Justice said that he is continuing his work from home and that he is closely monitoring the situation of the courts throughout the country.

In a radio interview on Friday, Quezon City Mayor Maria Josefina Tanya G. Belmonte reported six new cases in the city, bringing the total to 38. Of these 38, three have died while five were able to recover.

Among the six new cases, three are doctors, Ms. Belmonente said.

One doctor, who resides in Barangay Damayang Lagi, infected two of his family members.

The fourth and the fifth case are doctors who live in Barangay Bahay Toro and Barangay Phil-Am, respectively. The fifth case already passed away.

Meanwhile, the sixth case lives in Barangay Fairview. Ms. Belmonte said that the city’s epidemiology team is already validating the profile of this patient.

Two barangays in Quezon City are currently under “extreme enhanced community quarantine,” namely Barangay Kalusugan and Barangay Tandang Sora.

A barangay is considered to be under “extreme enhanced community quarantine” if it has more than one confirmed COVID-19 case.

The number of confirmed cases has reached more than 246,000 worldwide, with 10,050 deaths as of March 20, the WHO reported.

“It took over three months to reach the first 100,000 confirmed cases, and only 12 days to reach the next 100,000,” the WHO said in its daily situation report.

Meanwhile, 88,486 patients were able to recover globally. — Genshen L. Espedido