Long queues, delayed results in COVID testing labs due to increased demand, says DOH | Inquirer News
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Long queues, delayed results in COVID testing labs due to increased demand, says DOH

/ 04:55 PM January 07, 2022
Swab Cab, Leni Robredo, OVP, long queue, coronavirus surge, mass testing, COVID-19 tests, COVID-19 surge, crowd

The Swab Cab relaunched by the Office of the Vice President saw long queues of people wanting to get tested for COVID-19 amid the surge in infection supposedly driven by the Omicron virus. Image from Facebook / Leni Gerona Robredo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday acknowledged the long queues and delay in the release of results of COVID-19 testing laboratories, saying these were due to the increased demand for coronavirus tests.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that aside from higher demand, healthcare workers manning testing laboratories also get sick, which contribute to the delay in the release of results.

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“Unang una po, talaga po naman na tumatagal ngayon ang paglabas ng laboratory tests natin dahil sa bilang demand for laboratory dahil ang daming nagkakasakit. Pangalawa, ‘yung healthcare workers natin manning our laboratories are getting sick also so medyo bumaba po ang kapasidad ng ating health human resources sa ating laboratories,” she said in a Palace briefing.

(First, the release of test results now takes longer because of the higher demand for tests. Second, healthcare workers manning laboratories are also getting sick, so the capacity of our health human resources in laboratories becomes lower.)

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“That is the reason why nagkakaroon ng (there are) delays ng (in the) release ng (of) laboratory tests,” she added.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said that some laboratories have already instituted a cap in their testing sites, while the DOH has already allowed alternative modes of testing.

“We’ve been getting reports that there are long queues in our laboratories now, and our laboratories actually have instituted maximum numbers. ‘Yung capacity nila, may limit na sila per day (They have set a limited capacity per day),” the DOH official said.

“Ang ginagawa natin ngayon, pinapakalap po natin ngayon na maaari pong gamitin ang antigen test lalo na po kung kayo ay symptomatic for the first five days of your illness tsaka sa close contacts and directly exposed, maaari po tayong gumamit ng alternative modes of testing,” she further said.

(What we are doing now is we are advising people to use antigen test if you are asymptomatic for the five days of your illness. For close contacts and those directly exposed, you can use alternative modes of testing.)

However, the DOH reminded the public that no self-administered self antigen test kits have been registered yet with the Food and Drug Administration.

Those who were exposed to COVID-19 but could not immediately access testing centers should isolate themselves, in order to help cut the transmission of coronavirus in the community, according to Vergeire.

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The country reported 21,819 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest single-day increase since September 18 when the DOH confirmed 23,134 additional coronavirus infections during the surge of Delta variant. Positivity rate, on the other hand, was at 40 percent out of 70,049 individuals who were tested for COVID-19 last Wednesday.

The Philippines has so far detected 43 cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, which the DOH said could be driving the increase in cases.

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