The Department of Health said Wednesday the government would be releasing revised omnibus guidelines on COVID-19 response, which covers testing, detection, isolation, and quarantine management.
“Na-approve na ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) iyong pilot run ng antigen test. Kapag lumabas na ang resulta noon, ilalabas natin ang omnibus guidelines. The whole document will be updated,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control, rapid antigen test is a “COVID-19 test conducted using nasopharyngeal or nasal swab specimens and placed directly into a rapid test kit mixed with extraction buffer or reagent to detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, thus implying a current viral infection.”
Vergeire, however, earlier said that the rapid antigen test’s sensitivity level should be 80%, a standard that is not available among rapid antigen tests in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Vergeire also said the critical care utilization in the National Capital Region (NCR), Calabarzon, and Cebu City have incrementally improved.
The DOH official said that the critical care utilization rate in Metro Manila decreases from 81% in June, 67% in August, and 58% as of September 20.
For Calabarzon figures, critical care utilization went from 59% on September 2 to 56% on September 20.
Cebu City’s critical care utilization rate also decreased to 32% from 38% two weeks ago.
Revised guidelines on COVID-19 response to be released soon
“Nade-decongest natin ang ating health care system. This might not be drastic, but we are seeing improvement in our health system,” Vergeire said.
“This is due not only to discharges but also to additional government resources, the One Hospital Command which is a referral network and Oplan Kalinga which facilitates transfer of asymptomatic patients to quarantine facilities,” she added.
“The R for the Philippines is .92, and the R for (National Capital Region) is .83. These numbers are below 1, which is good,” Professor Ranjit Rye of the UP-OCTA Research team told reporters.
Rye added that the NCR needed to sustain the downtrend of infections for “few more weeks” before the authorities could consider placing the capital region under less stringent community quarantine status.