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Lack of reagents, personnel hamper PH’s COVID-19 testing expansion

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 06:43 PM May 05, 2020

A medical worker sprays disinfectant on a resident before taking an x-ray and an oropharyngeal swab during a mass testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a park in Quezon City, suburban Manila on April 15, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s laboratories already have the capacity to test over 8,000 individuals per day for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but there are still hurdles blocking them from reaching maximum capacity.

These include the lack of reagents needed for testing and human resources working at accredited COVID-19 testing centers, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained on Tuesday.

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“Sa kasalukuyan, higit na nga ito sa walong libo kada araw kung pagsasama-samahin ang testing capacity ng bawat lisensyadong COVID-19 laboratory,” she said in an online press conference.

(Currently, our maximum testing capacity is at 8,000 tests per day if all the testing capacity of DOH-accredited laboratories are combined.)

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“Hindi natin makakailang mayroon tayong ilang hamon na hinaharap upang mapa-abot ang ating maximum testing capacity,” Vergeire added.

(We can’t deny that we are facing several challenges that hinder us from reaching our maximum testing capacity.)

At present, there are 23 testing sites that the Department of Health (DOH) accredited to conduct COVID-19 testing.

The health department earlier aimed to achieve 8,000 COVID-tests a day to be able to give a clearer picture of the pandemic in the country. It is now aiming to achieve a 30,000-testing capacity by the end of this month.

Vergeire assured that the DOH is exhausting all efforts to address the issues on testing.

As of May 4, the DOH has already tested 117,853 individuals for the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, 89% or 105,226 of which turned out to be negative.

Nearly 340,000 testing supplies are still available for those that need to get tested.

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To date, there are 9,684 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 1,408 recoveries and 637 fatalities.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

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TAGS: COVID-19, DoH, laboratories, testing capacity
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