DOH aims for 8,000 COVID-19 tests a day by end of April
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is targeting to conduct at least 8,000 tests a day for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the end of April.
DOH is also confident that the country’s laboratories can do a total of 3,000 tests a day by April 14, the proposed date for the start of mass COVID-19 testing.
Special Assistant to DOH Secretary Beverly Ho on Friday noted that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) currently processes 1,000 tests a day, and is expected to increase its testing capacity to 2,000 tests a day in the coming days.
Meanwhile, sub-national laboratories scattered across the country are processing at least 500 tests a day, DOH also said.
More medical technologists are also being trained to further augment the manpower in the sub-national laboratories, it added.
Further, DOH said the test kits being produced by the University of the Philippines are expected to get marketing authorization as soon as results get submitted to the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
“We are confident that our laboratories can do a total of 3,000 tests a day by April 14… Ang ating expected [testing] capacity by the end of April is at least 8,000 tests per day,” Ho said in a virtual press briefing.
(We are confident that our laboratories can do a total of 3,000 tests a day by April 14… Our expected testing capacity by the end of April is at least 8,000 tests per day.)
“We are very fervent in our commitment to make sure that happens,” she added.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is expected to increase more as the testing capacity of the country expands.
However, Ho maintained the standing strategy of the government that only persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) for suspected COVID-19 infection, as well as health workers and those showing symptoms, will be tested.
“Targeted ang testing natin to cover those who are in need. Hindi natin layunin na pipila tayo lahat isang araw at basta-basta na lang magpa-test,” she said.
(Our testing is targeted to cover only those who are in need. We do not want that all of us will queue in hospitals to get tested.)
“Ang target i-test ay ‘yung symptomatic patients and obviously our health care workers,” she added.
(Symptomatic patients and health workers are the targets for testing.)
The Philippines so far has 3,018 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 136 fatalities and 52 recoveries.
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