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Gov't eyes including positive COVID-19 antigen test results in case count

Malacañang on Friday said positive COVID-19 antigen test results may be included in the active case tally in Metro Manila but will still be subjected to confirmatory tests.

"Yan po ang ating objective para mas maging mabuti yung picture natin kung ilan ang total cases natin," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said during the day's Laging Handa briefing.

"Pero siyampre yung mga positibo subject pa rin to confirmatory tests,"he added.

For this, the government's COVID-19 task force directed the Department of Health NCR Center for Health Development (DOH NCR CHD) to facilitate registration of facilities using rapid antigen kits.

The DOH NCR CHD was also directed to ensure that antigen line list will "be collected and consolidated from health facilities, temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, and their own LGUs for submission to the DOH," Roque said, citing Resolution 140 of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

To accomplish this, the IATF said the DOH NCR CHD should consider "further augmentation of disease surveillance staff and encoders."

In an online briefing on Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that they kept a record of antigen test results, though these had not yet been included in the official tally of cases.

“We have the list. Nagkakaroon pa rin kami ng challenge dito sa mga submissions ng ating local governments, especially those who are using the antigen test para gawin yung ating ginagawang response ngayon sa mga granular lockdowns,” she said.

Vergeire also urged individuals using the antigen test to communicate with their respective local government units.

“Kami po ay naghihikayat sa ating mga kababayan na kung sakaling gumagamit tayo ng antigen test please make sure you inform your local governments, especially kung positibo po ang lumalabas sa mga resulta ninyo,” she said.

“Mayroon po tayong ibang proseso na kailangan isagawa at kailangan mabigyan din po kayo ng abiso kung ano ang kailangan ninyong gawin once nagpa-positive ang rapid antigen test na resulta.”

The Philippines has 165,780 active COVID-19 cases as of September 23 based on DOH records.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4, a protocol which allows outdoor or al fresco dining will be allowed at maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity regardless of vaccination status of customers. --KBK, GMA News