ROME-- A total of 427 COVID-19 patients had died in 24 hours in Italy, taking the country's death toll to 3,405, according to new data released on Thursday by the Civil Protection Department.
The cumulative number of coronavirus cases reached 41,035 in Italy, making Italy the hardest-hit country outside China since the epidemic first broke out in its north on Feb. 21.
A total of 4,440 COVID-19 patients have recovered, up from 4,025 reported on Wednesday, official data revealed.
Of those infected with the virus, 14,935 were recovering in home isolation, up from 12,090 reported on Wednesday.
Another 15,757 people were hospitalized with symptoms. In the most severe category, 2,498 were in intensive care, a slight increase from 2,257 a day earlier.
Despite a spike in the number of new COVID-19 deaths, Italian officials said the country's over-strained health system was still doing its job.
"We continue to be saddened by the number of deaths among our fellow citizens," Angelo Borrelli, head of the Civil Protection Department, said Thursday.
Alberto Villani, president of the Italian Association of Pediatrics, defended the country's battered health care system and the country's strategy to confront the coronavirus outbreak.
"If we were not doing things correctly, why would other countries be so eager to copy the Italian model?" Villani asked. "We have had some tragic results but we are doing everything that can be done."