Govt eyes testing of asymptomatic patients as PH testing capacity now at 42K
MANILA, Philippines — The government is eyeing to include asymptomatic patients in its “expanded targeted testing” for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the country’s rated testing capacity increased to nearly 42,000 a day, COVID-19 Response Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon said Thursday.
In a televised press briefing, Dizon announced that the country is now capable of conducting 41,990 COVID-19 tests a day.
However, he noted that the actual tests being done by all the accredited laboratories nationwide is only around 10,000 tests daily.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier explained that this is because of some unforeseen operational issues that some of the laboratories are facing.
“Dahil sa malaki na ang capacity natin nationwide, lalo na po sa Visayas at Mindanao, pwede na po tayong lumampas pa sa mga may simtomas. At dapat po ang ang ating goal na ngayon sa expanded targeted testing ay paghahanap at pag-test ng mga asymptomatics—‘yun pong mga kababayan natin na wala masyadong simtomas,” Dizon said.
(Due to our increased testing capacity nationwide, especially in Visayas and Mindanao, we can go beyond those with symptoms. And our goal for the expanded targeted testing should be to find and test asymptomatics… those who do not have symptoms.)
Dizon, who is the president of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, said testing must now be expanded to densely-populated areas such as Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Cebu, and Davao.
He added that testing asymptomatics must also cover frontliners, especially healthcare workers, transport workers, law enforcers, guards, cashiers, and other workers with high exposure to contact.
Dizon said the country now has 52 licensed testing laboratories, 33 of which are government-owned, while 19 are from the private sector.
According to DOH data, 40 of the accredited laboratories, as of June 2, can conduct RT-PCR tests while the other 12 are testing centers licensed to use GeneXpert rapid tests.
The DOH earlier also said that actual testing capacity, based on the average daily testing output for the past two weeks, is from 8,000 to 9,000 tests per day only.
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