According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, laboratories usually disinfect and recalibrate their equipment on Sundays “for preventive maintenance, also so that we can maintain the accuracy of our results.”
“Nakikipag-usap po tayo sa kanila kung maaaring i-shorten natin. ‘Wag namang kumpletong 24 hours, baka pwedeng 12 hours lang at makapag-resume tayo ng operations para hindi po masyadong naaapektuhan ‘yung ating mga datos,” she said.
(We have asked laboratories to shorten the time frame for this. Maybe instead of 24 hours, they can do it in 12 hours so that they can resume operations to avoid affecting the data.)
She added the DOH needs 24 hours to validate the COVID-19 cases reports submitted by laboratories. This means the numbers forwarded on Sunday would be processed on Monday and released on Tuesday.
DOH: Decrease in COVID-19 cases every Monday, Tuesday ‘artificial’
Vergeire added that the DOH is yet to see the impact of the two-week implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, adding that COVID-19 figures may show some improvement “maybe next week.”
“We have to be careful in interpretation kasi sabi ko nga, may mga artificial declines tayo during Mondays and Tuesdays ng ating mga cases (because, like I said, we have artificial declines in cases during Mondays and Tuesdays),” Vergeire said.
“Hindi pa po natin masabi ngayon [na] conclusive ‘yan para makapagsabing bumababa na ang mga kaso (The data is not yet conclusive enough to say that cases have gone down).”
In June 2020, Tony Leachon, the now-resigned special adviser of the National Task Force against COVID-19 said it would be hard to make “adequate and agile” decisions if the government would base on the “old” COVID-19 cases data of the Department of Health.