Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said backlogs hamper the results of patients under investigation (PUI) for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Without the huge backlog at DOH’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, results of COVID-19 tests can be obtained in just a few hours.

 “Sa ngayon sa Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) tumatagal ng 5 hanggang 7 araw dahil sa nangyari na backlog,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during the televised Laging Handa briefing at PTV4.

Vergeire added the test itself only takes a few hours but the whole process, including the delivery of the samples, makes the normal processing time last 24 to 48 hours.

That was the processing time for COVID-19 tests in the Philippines before cases surged, she said.

At present, there are now 707 confirmed COVID-19 cases in PH.

“Ang kanilang commitment matatapos lahat ng backlog in 2 to 3 days,” Vergeire said of the RITM.

According to DOH data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, half of COVID-19 fatalities only had their test results released on the day of or after their deaths.

The longest wait was 10 days for PH600, an 87-year old Filipino male from Sultan Kudarat who died on March 14 but was only confirmed as a COVID-19 case on March 24.

Meanwhile, the DOH insisted that they are still following the “first-in first-out” policy when processing test results.

The Philippines recently received 100,000 test kits from China and has opened a number of additional laboratories for COVID-19 testing.

The DOH said it expects the number of confirmed cases to surge as their laboratory capabilities have been expanded.

Vergeire said the DOH has released 5,000 test kits each to the new subnational laboratories: Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, and the Lung Center of the Philippines. (ia/sovereignph.com)

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