DOH won’t test patients based on request during expanded COVID-19 detection
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) will not conduct COVID-19 testing based on the patients’ request even as it enforces its “expanded” testing for the respiratory illness next week.
In a virtual press briefing Wednesday, Dr. Beverly Ho, Special Assistant to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, explained that the “mass testing” the agency is going to start off does not mean the “indiscriminate testing of everyone.”
“The DOH does not recommend testing per request without an indication. Health professionals shall remain the decision-makers if someone needs a test or not,” Ho said.
The DOH official explained that factors such as the presence of other diseases or being part of the vulnerable groups and exposure to known or confirmed COVID-19 patients will be taken into consideration.
Here’s how the DOH will prioritize patients for testing as explained by Ho:
– Patients or healthcare workers with severe or critical symptoms have the greatest need for testing
– Those who have mild symptoms with relevant history of exposure or are considered vulnerable
– Those who are asymptomatic but have relevant exposure history
“This prioritization is in place to optimize the use of available testing kits even as we continue to increase our testing capacity,” Ho said.
She added that the health department will finalize the guidelines for the expanded testing on Wednesday.
“This includes a provision on who are now eligible to undergo testing and based on our expanded indications,” Ho noted.
Earlier, National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the government is eyeing to start the “massive” testing of suspected coronavirus patients on April 14.
Currently, as many as 3,870 individuals in the country were tested positive for COVID-19, while 182 died and 96 were able to recover.
The virus, which originated from Hubei, China, causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but experts warned that older adults with preexisting health conditions were more vulnerable to the coronavirus, particularly those aged over 60-years-old.
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