COVID-19 laboratories still have nearly 1,700 test backlogs
MANILA, Philippines — Some laboratories processing the test results for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) still have a remaining data backlog of nearly 1,700 samples as of June 1, after failing to meet last week the Department of Health’s (DOH) target to eliminate all backlogs.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday said that while the laboratories were able to reduce its collective backlog to 545 last week, the Western Visayas Medical Center during the weekend ran into some operational issues, that made them incapable of processing some samples.
However, from 1,168 data samples that need to be processed during the weekend, the WVMC was able to reduce its backlog to 505 as of June 1.
On the same date, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, also has 353 test results that it still had to process.
“Mayroong kaunti from other labs (na test results) so we have a total of about 1,691 backlogs as of 6 pm yesterday,” Vergeire told reporters in an online media forum.
Last week, the DOH said it is aiming to reduce backlogs to zero by May 28.
Due to operational issues plaguing the country’s health system, especially its laboratories, the average actual testing capacity for COVID-19 is about 8,000 to 9,000 tests a day, she added.
The DOH is still bouncing back from issues, such as breaks in laboratories, encountered in the past two weeks.
The major factor that limits the laboratories from testing for COVID-19 remained to be the “erratic” supply of equipment, the Health official said.
The DOH hoped to continue ramping up its testing capacity with the help of the private sector and the stabilization of supplies.
“Kailangan pa rin natin magredistribute palagi para lang magkaroon ang labs ng kinakailangan nilang supplies (We need to redistribute laboratory supplies so that laboratories can operate),” Vergeire said.
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