DOH reports over 12k COVID-19 testing backlogs

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Department of Health (DOH) reported Friday over 12,000 submitted COVID-19 samples that are considered as backlogs from different laboratories nationwide.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a virtual forum, said the backlogs were due to various reasons such as the “overwhelming” arrival of samples due to revised protocols for expanded COVID-19 testing.

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“Ang backlogs natin ngayon medyo lumaki, 12,208 testing backlogs. May malaking contributors dito katulad ng mga laboratoryo na kakabukas lang and they got overwhelmed noong dumating ang mga sample sa kanila,” Vergeire said.

“‘Yung iba naman, it is still because of supplies na kailangan natin at ‘yung iba marami kasing samples na dumadating ngayon dahil nag-expand na tayo ng protocol,” she added.

Malacañang announced last week that even those who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms would be included in the government’s expanded testing program.

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The expanded testing also includes police officers, soldiers, supermarket workers, sari-sari store vendors, and street vendors as some of the non-medical front liners.

Vergeirie said the laboratories put a limit on the number of samples they accept every day to finish the backlogs.

The DOH also implemented zoning for an easy referral to other nearby laboratories.

“Pag ang isang laboratory ay nagkakaroon na ng problema like backlogs, puwede natin hingin ang tulong ng isang laboratory na malapit sa kaniya para ma-share niya ‘yung burden of these tests that are being processed,” Vergeire said.

Also read: Gov’t targets 10 million COVID-19 tests in next 8 to 10 months

As of July 9, the country has 83 laboratories that are authorized to conduct COVID-19 tests, 62 of which are polymerase chain reaction facilities, and 21 are GeneXpert laboratories.

The average number of tests conducted daily from July 1 to 7 was 19,459.

For GeneXpert laboratories, the average waiting time to get COVID-19 testing results is 24 to 48 hours and 50 hours for RT-PCR laboratories.

As of July 9, the Philippines recorded a total of 51,754 COVID-19 cases, with 12,813 recoveries and 1,314 deaths.

DOH data from July 8 meanwhile showed that over 845,000 individuals had been tested for COVID-19 nationwide.

NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon said last month, the government targets to conduct 10 million tests in the next eight to 10 months.

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