DOH: Don’t be alarmed as cases spike with start of expanded COVID-19 testing on April 14

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire holds a virtual presser on Monday, April 13, 2020. (Courtesy DOH/Screenshot from DOH Facebook)


(Eagle News) – The Department of Health (DOH) advised the public not to be alarmed or worried with the expected spike in COVID-19 cases as it starts its expanded mass testing for COVID-19 on Tuesday, April 14.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that about 300 medical technologists, molecular biologists, lab technicians, and researchers from the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology will be strategical deployed to supplement the current workforce of COVID-19 accredited laboratories.

“Bukas po, April 14, magsisimula na ang kagawaran ng expanded COVID-19 tests,” she said.

Total coronavirus cases in the country reached 4,932 a day before the DOH starts it expanded COVID-19 testing.

There were 284 new cases added in the past day, the DOH said.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths also rose to 315 with the addition of 18 new fatalities.

At least 45 new recoveries were also reported as of 4 p.m. Monday, April 13, 2020.

Nais po naming ulitin tulad ng naipaliwanag po namin noon na ang pagdami po ng bilang ng maite-test ay maaring magdulot ng biglang pagdami ng bilang na madedetect na COVID positive cases (We want to reiterate our earlier explanation that the increase in the number of tests would result in the rise in COVID-19 positive cases that will be detected,” Vergeire said.

Mariin po naming ipinapaala na tayo oy di po tayo dapat mangamba. (We reiterate to the public that this is no cause for concern),” she said.

-Early detection of cases vital –

The DOH assured that early detection of COVID-19 cases are essential in stemming the spread of the disease.

All the needs of the identified COVID-19 cases – mild, asymptomatic and critical cases – would be addressed.

Mild and asymptomatic cases would be isolated in already identified quarantine and isolation facilities, while severe cases would be admitted in identified referral hospitals for COVID-19.

The DOH had already conducted 35,804 tests. Majority of these, or 30,585 tested negative, while 5,187 were positive.

Vergeire, however, said hat the positive test results also included repeat tests, which is why the numbers do not coincide with the current number of 4,932 COVID-19 confirmed cases.

The DOH official earlier said that by April 14, the country would be able to conduct up to 3,000 COVID-19 tests daily,

There are currently 75 COVID-19 referral hospitals in the country which can accommodate a total of 3,194 patients.

Other temporary facilities for mild to asmptomatic cases can accommodate more than 4,000 patient, Vergeire said.

There will also be extended operating hours for laboratories processing COVID-19 tests.

There are currently 15 certified laboratories that can process COVID-19 tests. At least 28 more are in the process of being assessed by the DOH.

Priority for testing are those with symptoms, including health workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions. Even patients with mild or no symptoms but have travel history or exposure to a COVID-19 confirmed case are candidates for testing.

By April 30, the DOH hopes the country can conduct 8,000 to 10,000 COVID-19 tests daily.

(Eagle News Service)