PH COVID-19 testing capacity now at 34k but actual tests per day still below maximum
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said the country now can conduct 34,000 COVID-19 tests daily but admitted that the actual tests done per day by all the accredited laboratories are still below the maximum capacity.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the Philippines’ average testing output remains at 8,000 to 9,000 tests per day due to some operational issues being faced by COVID-19 testing centers.
Vergeire said this as the health department again tries to address the alleged “confusion” in the country’s testing capacity.
The government previously announced that it is eyeing to conduct 30,000 tests daily by the end of May—a target it did not meet despite ramped up efforts to accredit more laboratories.
However, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had said that the government was able to exceed its goal of 30,000 tests in a day—a statement he immediately corrected saying that he was actually referring to “our national testing capacity.”
Vergeire explained that “rated testing capacity” and “actual testing capacity” are two different terms.
She explained that the rated testing capacity, which is now 34,000, is the “theoretical” capacity of all the accredited laboratories if external factors and operational issues will not be considered.
“Ang rated or targeted testing capacity po ay theoretical capacity ng isang laboratoryo o ang bilang ng test na kaya niyang magawa kung hindi natin isasaalang-alang ang ilang factors at mga operational issues na naeencounter ng ating laboratoryo. Sa kasalukuyan po, ang bilang po ng ating rated capacity ay 34,000 per day,” Vergeire said in a televised press briefing.
(The rated or targeted testing capacity is the theoretical capacity of a laboratory or the number of tests it can perform if we do not take into account some of the factors and operational issues that our laboratory may face. Currently, our rated capacity is 34,000 per day.)
Meanwhile, the actual testing capacity, according to the DOH official, refers to the average daily testing output of all the laboratories which now stands at 8,000 to 9,000.
“Samantala naman po, ang actual testing capacity naman natin ay based po sa average testing output sa buwan po ng Mayo no this past two weeks ay 8,000 to 9,000,” she added.
(Meanwhile, our actual testing capacity is based on average testing output in May for the past two weeks which is 8,000 to 9,000.)
Vergeire noted that the highest COVID-19 tests done in a day was on May 15 when the laboratories conducted 11,127 tests.
To date, there are 48 licensed laboratories nationwide capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2—the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Of which, 37 conducts RT-PCR testing while 11 are accredited to use GeneXpert rapid test kits.
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