DOH: Still no COVID-19 test for persons with mild symptoms, non-elderly | Inquirer News

DOH: Still no COVID-19 test for persons with mild symptoms, non-elderly

By: - Reporter / @ConsINQ
/ 06:28 PM March 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Mass COVID-19 testing of people with mild symptoms and those who are non-elderly remains impossible because the country still lacks sufficient resources for test kits even if more laboratories were accredited to process them, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.


DOH Undersecretary Rosette Vergeire, however, assured that the prevailing protocol will be reviewed to expand their list for priority COVID-19 test once the adequate supply of kits is ascertained.

“Kahit nadagdagan ang ating laboratoryo na mag-test ng specimen, hindi pa rin sapat na ma-accommodate ang lahat. Kapag dumating na tayo sa punto na merong sufficient resources, ating irerebisa ang ating protocol para makita kung sino pwede pumasok ipasok sa priority para i-test ang nakakarami,” Vergeire said in a press conference at the Department of Health (DOH).


(Even if the number of laboratories testing the specimen increased, it’s still not enough to accommodate all. When we get to the point where there are sufficient resources, we will review our protocol to determine who should be included in the priority for mass testing.)

Currently, DOH’s protocol for COVID-19 testing includes the elderly, pregnant women, and those with severe cases, Vergeire noted.

According to Vergeire, the 100,000 test kits donated to the Philippines by other countries and donors do not translate to 100,000 people getting tested. This is because some individuals infected with COVID-19 still need to undertake a second test, she explained.

Citing DOH guidelines, Vergeire said that once a person found positive for COVID-19 has recovered, he or she will be discharged from the hospital, undergo a 14-day home quarantine and after which will take another test for the coronavirus disease.

Aside from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, sub-national laboratories available for testing specimens for the respiratory disease are San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, Baguio General Hospital, Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu, and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which outbreak started in China’s Wuhan City in Hubei province in late 2019.

People who have COVID-19 could recover since for most people, its symptoms were mild like fever and cough. But the illness could also be worse or serious for others and possibly lead to pneumonia, especially for older adults and those with existing health problems.

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic since it has already infected more than 386,960 people worldwide and killed more than 16,750. On the other hand, over 102,400 people have recovered so far from the disease.


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