Palace: Include positive rapid test in COVID-19 tally

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Palace: Include positive rapid test in COVID-19 tally
“That is our objective: to get a better picture of our COVID-19 cases, but of course, those who tested positive for it are subject for confirmatory tests,”presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — To get a better picture of the country’s pandemic situation, individuals who tested positive through rapid antigen tests will now be included in the daily COVID-19 case tally, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

“That is our objective: to get a better picture of our COVID-19 cases, but of course, those who tested positive for it are subject for confirmatory tests,” Roque said.

The spokesman said the government’s anti-pandemic task force has ordered the regional Inter-Agency Task Force to monitor the allocation and use of antigen test kits to improve the reporting of COVID-19 cases and directed the Department of Health NCR Center for Health Development (DOH-NCR-CHD) to facilitate the registration of facilities using rapid antigen kits.

“The DOH NCR CHD needs to ensure that the antigen line test will be consolidated by health facilities, temporary treatment and monitoring facilities and LGUs and consider further augmentation of disease surveillance staff and encoders.”

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said rapid antigen test results are not yet counted in the country’s tally due to questions on accuracy and use.

Vergeire confirmed the DOH is planning to include positive results from rapid antigen test kits but stressed they have to fix some issues first.

“We had challenges on the submissions of the LGUs that are using it as part of their response to the granular lockdowns that they are implementing,” she added.

She added that the reports of some LGUs are not considered valid because they submitted their rapid antigen results not through the DOH’s COVID-19 Document Repository System.

Currently, these test kits are being used not only by the LGUs but in some small health facilities and even households.

The DOH previously said it was not recommending rapid antigen test kits as screening tools for COVID-19 cases and instead wants reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests, the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.

The health official urged those using antigen tests to report to their barangay or LGUs positive results so they could be guided. She also stressed the importance of accounting all positive cases to get an accurate picture of the pandemic in the country.


Vergeire also said they are closely monitoring all testing laboratories following President Duterte’s order to look into COVID-19 tests done by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) over reports of “false positive” results.

“We are checking if there would be inaccuracies and ensure the results of the tests. All laboratories are subjected to quality assurance,” Vergeire said, adding that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is also doing quality checks on COVID-19 testing laboratories.

“RITM has been asking for submissions to complete the process of quality assurance,” she added. –  Sheila Crisostomo

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