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Chief Implementer Galvez claims DOH had started mass testing

The Department of Health (DOH) had started "mass" testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the country's chief implementer of the national plan against the novel coronavirus clarified Friday.

"[W]e would like to correct that the DOH is already conducting massive testing for PUIs and PUMs so that we can take out COVID-positive patients from their communities and bring them to designated hospitals," Secretary Carlito Galvez said at a briefing in Camp Aguinaldo.

In an earlier briefing, Galvez said that the DOH was looking to start mass testing on April 14.

However, according to Special Assistant to Health Secretary Dr. Beverly Ho, the DOH's testing was "targeted."
"Ibig sabihin, bagama't ito'y pinalawak, targeted po ang testing natin to cover those who are in need. Hindi natin layunin na pipila tayong lahat, isang araw, at basta-basta na lang po mag papa-test," Ho said in a live briefing.

The doctor clarified that individuals who could be carriers of the virus would be the subjects for testing.

"Ang mass testing po na ito ay pag-papasiguro na mai-test lahat ng PUIs and ang ating vulnerable population lalo na ang ating health care workers," Ho said.

"Ito po yung sinasabi nating mass testing. Mas maraming mabibigyan ng test, lalo na ang may kailangan talaga nito," she added.

Ho emphasized that the DOH's plan would "cover those who are in need of testing."

Nine facilities testing for COVID-19

Galvez announced that, in addition to the Bicol Public Health Laboratory, there were now nine facilities which could process COVID-19 test kits.

These were:

  •     Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  •     San Lazaro Hospital
  •     UP National Institute of Health
  •     Lung Center of the Philippines
  •     Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center
  •     Western Visayas Medical Center
  •     Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
  •     Southern Philippines Medical Center
  •     Bicol Public Health Laboratory

As of Friday, there were 3,018 COVID-19 cases nationwide with a total of 136 fatalities and 52 recoveries. — DVM, GMA News