a person standing in front of a bus: Nearly 10,000 health workers get COVID-19 — DOH © Miguel De Guzman Nearly 10,000 health workers get COVID-19 — DOH

MANILA, Philippines — Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 10,000 health workers have been infected with the virus, a Department of Health (DOH) report showed.

Based on DOH data as of Sept. 25, a total of 9,344 frontliners were found to be positive for COVID-19.?Of the number, only 691 or 7.4 percent are “active cases” or those that are neither tagged among recoveries or deaths.

Of the active cases, 383 (55.4 percent) are mild, 273 (39.5 percent) are asymptomatic; 23 (3.3 percent) are severe, and 12 (1.7 percent) are critical.

The DOH said there have been 8,593 (92.0 percent) recoveries or those who have survived the virus, while 60 (0.6 percent) have died.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted in an earlier briefing that they do not expect the number of infected health workers to surge, compared to the first few months of the health crisis.

“If we can recall, many healthcare workers got sick and died in the first few months because patients weren’t telling their true symptoms,” she said.

Vergeire underscored such incidents can be prevented if patients will be honest with their medical condition, travel history and if they were exposed to an infected person.

Data also showed that there are fewer takers of positions for health workers under the DOH emergency hiring program. Of the 11,399 approved slots for hiring in 338 health facilities, only 8,822 have been filled up.

Of those hired, 40.8 percent were deployed in DOH hospitals, 16.6 percent in COVID-19 diagnostic facilities, 15.4 percent in temporary treatment and monitoring facilities and 13 percent in local government units and other hospitals.

The DOH has reiterated its appeal for frontliners to apply and help combat the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the total number of Filipinos abroad who died of COVID-19 is at 791,with one new fatality reported yesterday.

A report from Africa confirmed five new COVID-19 cases, one new fatality, and no new recovery among Filipinos overseas.

The DFA said the confirmed cases are now at 10,438 while total recoveries are at 6,654.

Meantime, the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah repatriated another 356 Filipinos based in Jeddah and other parts of the western region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday via a Philippine Airlines (PAL) chartered flight.

The chartered flight landed in Manila on Thursday. The repatriates are among the thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been economically displaced due to the pandemic.

The Consulate General originally intended to repatriate 353 OFWs in the flight, but several passengers did not show up at the airport, while four were offloaded due to visa problems.– Pia Lee-Brago

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