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1.63 million Filipinos tested for COVID by July â DOH
“Our average daily output now is 10,000 to 11,000. We hope this will continue so that by the end of July, we have already tested 1.5 percent of the population,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a press briefing.
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1.63 million Filipinos tested for COVID by July – DOH

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - June 16, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is aiming to test some 1.63 million Filipinos for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the end of July using the real time-polymerase chain reaction test, an official said yesterday.

“Our average daily output now is 10,000 to 11,000. We hope this will continue so that by the end of July, we have already tested 1.5 percent of the population,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a press briefing. The country’s population stands at 109 million.

Based on the DOH Situationer Report for COVID-19 as of June 14, a total of 467,564 individuals have already been tested for virus.

Total tests conducted reached 506,626, including the repeat tests for validation. Vergeire added as of Sunday, there were 220 backlogs in testing.

“We are able to bring down the backlogs but there are operational issues that persist in the facilities and it is where the bottleneck (builds up). We already employed strategies for these things,” she maintained.

She said there is currently an “international shortage” in different logistical supplies needed by testing laboratories.

“The procurement of these supplies has been centralized so we can source out directly with suppliers. With this situation, the laboratories’ power to negotiate and look for appropriate suppliers does not work anymore,” she said. The DOH is also doing emergency hiring of health human resources.

Vergeire added they have hired encoders for laboratories and healthcare facilities to ensure “real-time reporting” of COVID-19 information. 

To further strengthen the country’s response capability against COVID-19, the DOH has also called on laboratories, hospitals and local government units to submit timely and accurate reports about the virus.

According to the DOH, the fight against COVID-19 entails “a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.”

“The DOH cannot do it alone. Neither can the executive branch. We need the leadership and cooperation of the LGUs, our frontliners on the grassroots in this battle, as well as our healthcare providers, and laboratories,” it said in a statement.

The DOH issued the statement amid criticisms over its data management and reporting system for COVID-19.

“The day-to-day response to the pandemic –from enforcement of public health measures, contact tracing, quarantine of close contacts, early isolation of those with symptoms, testing, and management of cases are led by our local government units, with support from national government agencies,” it said.

“Data concerning these functions that are needed to make timely decisions originates from the LGUs, delays in reporting these data to the national government do not, and should not in any way, compromise speed and agility of local action,” it added.

“The timeliness and integrity of the national data are only as good as the submission of our partners on the ground – laboratories, hospitals and LGUs. Over the last few months, reporting delays have been significantly reduced and we are committed to continuing our response and efforts,” the DOH said.

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COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
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