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DOH eyes zero COVID-19 tests backlog by tonight

The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing to reduce COVID-19 tests backlog to zero by Thursday night, Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said.

Vergeire said that from 12,000 backlog two weeks ago, this has been reduced to just over 3,600 to date.

“Backlogs are those samples [from patients] already taken but the results are yet to be released by the laboratories. Nagmeeting kami ng mga laboratories last Monday, and we told them to finish the backlogs in two to three days as ordered by the Office of the President. We gave them strategies on how to do it. Two weeks ago, ang backlog natin ay 12,000. Umonti na siya,” Vergeire said in a DOH virtual media forum.

“Noong Lunes, 7,000 na lang, naibaba natin sa 5,000 at ngayon nga, 3,683. Ang target natin, by tonight, we will be reducing all of the backlogs to zero,” she added.

Vergeire said that laboratories have 48 to 72 hours to finish processing the samples from COVID-19 tests.

“If they go beyond 48 to 72 hours, may backlog ka na,” she said.

Vergeire, however, said the backlogs are different from those COVID-19 cases reported by the laboratories which are pending validation of the DOH.

Validating 7,000

The UP OCTA Research team earlier reported there are over 7,000 COVID-19 cases, based on the results from 36 laboratories, that are yet to be included in the DOH tally.

“More laboratories have been able to submit their line list of positive individuals on a regular basis, and the Epidemiology Bureau is quickly matching them with its database to ensure that they are indeed unique positive individuals,” Vergeire said.

As it is, the DOH’s validation time took an average of 2.99 days in March, 2.8 days in April, and 3.15 days in May.

“Nagba-validate tayo continuously, nagdagdag na tayo ng encoders para mas marami na rin tayong maidadagdag na confirmed cases,” Vergeire added.

The health official, however, said that the new number of COVID-19 cases breaching the 300 mark in the last two days cannot be linked to the backlog or the cases pending validation.

“We are still analyzing para malaman kung ito ba talaga ay actual [na pagtaas] or functions lang ng recording [of cases from backlog or validation],” she said.

Vergeire then said the validation of the DOH is expected to improve with the rollout of COVIDKAYA program which is digitization of the data from the laboratories for validation of the DOH.

“With the rollout of COVIDKAYA, this process will be expedited as the application will automate the cross-referencing of results across different laboratories,” she said.

The Philippines has recorded 15,049 COVID-19 cases, thus far. Of this number, 3,506 recovered while 904 have died.

On May 27, the Philippines also registered 380 new COVID-19 infections, the highest number of new cases in a single day since 414 new infections were announced on April 6.—AOL, GMA News