MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico might have 26,500 people infected with the coronavirus, a senior health official said on Wednesday, citing government models.

Mexico has reported 3,181 confirmed cases of the virus, but many who are infected likely did not have symptoms or were not diagnosed, said Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell.

“From what you can see, the epidemic is eight times bigger,” he told a news conference.

The estimate of 26,500 cases is based on a model called “Sentinel Surveillance,” which uses the number of cases in 375 health districts to extrapolate for the rest of the country, Lopez-Gatell said.

Mexico reported 396 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, while the number of deaths rose to 174.

(Reporting by Abraham Gonzalez and Miguel Angel Gutierrez; Editing by Robert Birsel)