COVID-19 tally to now include positive antigen test results in NCR Plus – DOH | Inquirer News
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COVID-19 tally to now include positive antigen test results in NCR Plus – DOH

/ 06:12 PM March 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Those who tested positive through rapid antigen testing in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases—such as Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces—will now be included in the official tally of infections, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

DOH Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire disclosed this during the online meeting of the House committee on health.

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“Doon sa tinatanong niyo, the rapid antigen test will be officially reported for this period that we have this increase in the number of cases. As what [Secretary] Vince [Dizon] and [Secretary Francisco] Duque said, it’s going to be used as part of or outbreak response,” Vergeire said.

Asked if this means that a swab test is no longer required to support the rapid antigen test, Vergeire responded in the affirmative.

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Vergeire, however, underscored that antigen test can only be used as a confirmatory test in areas where there are outbreaks or areas where there is a high number of cases—such as the NCR Plus bubble that includes Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan.

“In our guidelines and based from WHO (World Health Organization) recommendation, when there are areas with increased incidents, or when there are outbreaks like what we are having right now, you can use the antigen test as a confirmatory already. So we do not need any RT-PCR to confirm them,” Vergeire said.

“But if you are going to use the rapid antigen test in areas where there are low prevalence and you use them for asymptomatics maybe or screening, you need the use of RT-PCR for you to confirm that test,” she added.

Vergeire added: “We are going to use the rapid antigen test in the NCR Plus bubble as has been recommended also by the WHO.”

Currently, only those who tested positive through RT-PCR tests are considered as confirmed COVID-19 cases. Those who tested positive through rapid antigen testing are only considered as suspected or probable cases.

Active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 124,680 on March 30 with the detection of 9,296 additional cases.

According to DOH, total COVID-19 cases in the country is currently at 741,181.

KGA

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