DOH targets 10,000 tests per day by end of April

Lian Buan

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DOH targets 10,000 tests per day by end of April

The health department reiterates that mass testing means more extensive testing of PUIs and PUMs

MANILA, Philppines – The Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday, April 4, that it was targeting to conduct 10,000 coronavirus tests a day by end of April.

“Amin pong tinataya na sa pagdating ng April 14, tayo na po ay makakapag test ng higit sa 3,000 na pinaghihinalaan na may COVID-19 sa isang araw. Sa katapusan naman po ng Abril ay umabot po tayo ng 8 hanggang 10,000 test kada araw,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday.

 (We are targeting that by April 14, we can do 3,000 tests a day on those suspected to have COVID-19.)

Vergeire reiterated that the government’s mass testing  that will start on April 14 covers only the symptomatic persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs), and  individuals considered to be at risk, like health care workers and those with underlying conditions.

“Hindi po ibig sabihin nito ay lahat ng Pilipino ay itetest natin, ang mass testing po na ating sinasabi ay isang malawakang testing ng mga taong at risk for COVID-19,” said Vergeire.

(It does not mean that all Filipinos will be tested, the mass testing we are referring to is a more extensive testing for those at risk for Covid-19.)

Vergeire said that as more test kits become available, the department will come out with a more comprehensive guideline on who can avail of the mass testing, as well as which kits to use.

UP test kits

With the rollout of the cheaper test kits developed by the University of the Philippines-Manila National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), Vergeire tempered expectations by saying the test kits are still polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits and not rapid test kits.

“Ibig sabihin maaring gamitin lamang ang ating mga certified na COVID testing laboratories at faciltiies para magamit ang testing kits ng UP NIH,” said Vergeire.

(It means only the certified covid testing laboratories and facilities can use the UP NIH test kits.)

The initial rollout will go for free to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City and Baguio General Hospital in Baguio City.

Other hospitals may buy UP NIH test kits for the second rollout, which could process 94,000 tests, according to Vergeire.

As of April 4, there are already 8 hospitals certified to test for coronavirus, while the others are still undergoing certification process. 

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines increased to 3,094 with 76 new cases on Saturday.

The DOH said 8 more patients died, bringing the coronavirus death toll in the country to 144. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.