‘No more backlogs in COVID-19 test results’

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
âNo more backlogs in COVID-19 test resultsâ
In a press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is no more backlog in the test results being validated by the department’s Epidemiology Bureau.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday that it is now providing “real-time” data on coronavirus cases since the agency had already emptied the backlogs in test results.

In a press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is no more backlog in the test results being validated by the department’s Epidemiology Bureau.

Vergeire said this means that there will be no more “late cases” in the daily tally of COVID-19 being reported by the DOH.

“Our data now is real-time. Whenever it is submitted to us, we are able to validate it within 24 hours. We no longer have validation backlog,” she noted, referring to the test results submitted to the DOH by laboratories.

Previously, the DOH had been met with backlogs in validated tests as many testing laboratories were not complying with the requirement to submit their line lists on time every day.

As of Aug. 10, the DOH was receiving results from only 70 percent of 101 accredited laboratories.

Last week, the DOH had issued a warning to deliquent laboratories that they may lose their license to operate if they fail to submit timely reports.

Asked about the impact of the two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal, Vergeire said it will take two to three weeks to determine this.

She claimed this is primarily because it takes 14 days for the virus to incubate.

“We cannot say as of this time what are the effects. We would require two to three weeks to be able to analyze what has been the impact,” she added.

But Vergeire gave assurance that during this period, they were able to recalibrate the strategies such as contact tracing and clarify the roles and targets of each agency involved in the COVID-19 response.

The government must match the compassion, sacrifice and discipline that ordinary Filipinos have displayed amid the health crisis, Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday.

Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services, stressed the country’s recovery should rely not on “our people’s resilience alone” but more so government’s response to the crisis.

“Ano pa’ng hahanapin mo sa Pilipino (What more can you ask of Filipinos)? What is missing in the equation? A better government response (that can catch up with the determination of the people). A government that can march in lockstep with people determined to fight their way out of this crisis,” Poe told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay online media forum.

She said if the people’s response has been overwhelming, government should reciprocate with better performance, adding no other people have endured the world’s longest lockdown.

The Philippine Red Cross has already conducted close to 500,000 COVID-19 tests since opening its first molecular laboratory at national headquarters along EDSA last April.

“During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we immediately discussed the available testing systems with medical experts because we already believed then that testing would be the key to preventing the spread of the virus.

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