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DOH to 'gradually' include antigen test results in COVID-19 tally

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DOH to 'gradually' include antigen test results in COVID-19 tally
A mural of a man wearing a mask can be seen at Maginhawa Street in Quezon City on Sept. 22, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Saturday said it will slowly include validated positive results from antigen tests in the country’s daily count of COVID-19 cases starting next week.

“We will gradually include the positive results of antigen tests after we validate the reports we have received. Beginning next week, we will gradually include that in the tally,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in Filipino.

“We will have a qualifier showing how many results were from RT-PCR and antigen tests in the reports that we will provide to the public,” she added.

The reporting of antigen test results should not be voluntary, Vergeire also said.

The DOH is currently working with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the National Task Force against COVID-19 to create a registration process for entities that use antigen tests.

“We have a specific reporting system for that which we will share to make this official and to mandate all those who use antigen tests to report results to the government,” she said.

‘Interpret data with caution’

“While we are seeing that the number of cases is slowly decreasing in the past week, we would like to emphasize to everybody that we should cautiously interpret our data because we have issues on laboratory outputs right now,” Vergeire said.

The DOH earlier said it was investigating the decline in the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in Metro Manila and other regions.

Vergeire also noted the reduced outputs of testing laboratories could be attributed to positive results of antigen tests that were not included in the COVID-19 case count.

“People are using [antigen test] for border screening, screening for work, screening for certain activities. That is not the right and proper use of antigen and we might get inaccurate results,” the health official said.  

COVID-19 TESTING DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
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