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Over 1,400 COVID-19 lab backlogs still remaining, says DOH

The country’s licensed laboratories still have over 1,400 backlogs remaining for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire clarified that the discrepancy between the number of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and the number of confirmed cases reported daily by the DOH is not a backlog.

“‘Yung discrepancy ay dahil sa duplicate entries within the laboratories. For example, multiple tests can be done to a person or duplicates based on different forms and in between laboratories,” she explained in a briefing.

Vergeire made the clarification after some netizens pointed out that the DOH tracker indicates that there are still over 10,000 backlogs but Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said there are only some 1,000 remaining.

“Ang 1,000 na sinabi po ni Secretary Roque kanina ay ayon sa datos na nakalagay sa ating June 27 situation report. Ang ating latest data shows that the laboratory backlog is at 1,430,” Vergeire said.

Roque was earlier ridiculed for his remark congratulating Filipinos for “beating” experts’ projection that there would be 40,000 cases in the Philippines by June 30.

Vergeire also said that the continued automation and improvement of the DOH’s data infrastructure will help cut down the discrepancy between positive individuals and confirmed cases.

“However, given the source of discrepancy, we cannot expect na totally mawawala ang ibang encoding and clerical errors,” she said.

The Philippines has logged 38,511 COVID-19 cases with 10,438 recoveries and 1,270 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

As of June 30, the Philippines has 54 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 20 GeneXpert laboratories while 170 others are undergoing the laboratory accreditation process. -MDM, GMA News