CORONAVIRUS infections could surge in the coming days as laboratories play catch-up after the Department of Health (DoH) issued stricter rules on test result submissions, according to the agency.

“We will be reporting a higher number of cases because of the complete submissions of our laboratories,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told an online news briefing on Wednesday.

DoH starting on Sept. 1 stopped accepting results without the complete address and phone number of the patient.

Because of this, there were confirmed cases that had not been reported and will come out once the information is complete.

“We expect that this is a one-time occurrence,” she said, adding that laboratories have improved their processes.

DoH reported 3,176 coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total to 245,143.

The death toll rose by 70 to 3,986 while recoveries increased by 376 to 185,543, it said in a bulletin.

Metro Manila had the highest number of confirmed cases with 1,327, followed by Batangas with 260, Laguna with 193, Rizal with 176 and Negros Occidental with 155.

There were 55,614 active cases, 88.3% of which were mild, 8.6% did not show symptoms, 1.3% were severe, and 1.8% were critical.

Of the new deaths, 36 came from Metro Manila, eight from the Calabarzon region, six from Central Luzon, four from Soccsksargen, and three each from Western Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula, the agency said.

Two deaths each were reported from Cagayan Valley, the Bicol region, Central Visayas and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). One death each came from the Davao and Mimaropa regions.

More than 2.7 million individuals have been tested for COVID-19, DoH said.

The government earlier said it was looking at enforcing aggressive isolation measures and prohibiting home quarantine for coronavirus patients to bring down the infection rate further.

The government has been setting up more isolation centers for patients that don’t show symptoms and those with mild cases of the virus to contain the virus.

The government on Monday said local coronavirus infections have slowed, while the country’s healthcare system has improved.

The virus reproductive rate stood at 0.94 from four in March, meaning an infected patient can infect one more person, he said.

New cases peaked on Aug. 10 at 6,958 and gradually decreased to 2,592 on Sept. 5. There was also a downtrend in Metro Manila, the Calabarzon region and Central Visayas

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the head of the national task force, on Saturday said the Philippines was seeking to flatten the curve by the end of September.

In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at a time is known as flattening the curve.

The curve researchers are talking about refers to the projected number of people who will get infected over time. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas