By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) said it will not yet change its protocol on who should be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) despite the increase in the number of testing kits.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they will continue to prioritize those with severe symptoms, elderly people, and those with underlying medical conditions.
“Sa ngayon, hindi pa po babaguhin ang protocol ng DOH at gagamitin pa rin ang mga nakuhang test kits para sa mga taong nangangailangan nito katulad ng ating mga severe, critical cases at ng ating vulnerable population,” said Vergeire in a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
[As of now, we will not yet change the DOH protocol and we will continue to use the testing kits that recently arrived for those who need it the most, such as severe, critical cases and our vulnerable population.]
“Kahit po kasi nadagdagan na ang ating mga laboratoryo na pwedeng mag-test ng specimen, hindi pa rin po sapat para ma-accommodate ang lahat,” added Vergeire.
[Even if more laboratories can now test specimens (for COVID-19) it’s not yet enough to accommodate all.]
Earlier, the DOH said it was expecting the arrival of 120,500 test kits from countries such as China, South Korea, and Brunei.
The DOH also had said that sub-national laboratories are now testing COVID samples aside from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
These are the San Lazaro Hospital, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, and Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said patients will now be discharged once they test negative for COVID-19.
Previously, two negative test results were required for COVID patients before they are discharged from the hospital.
“Pag wala na pong sintomas ang ating COVID [patient], bumalik na rin sa normal ang ilang test tulad ng CBC (complete blood count), chest x-ray ay maari na po siyang pauwiin,” said Vergeire.
[If the COVID patient tests negative and is already asymptomatic — and his other tests like CBC and chest x-ray are normal, he or she may be discharged.]
After being discharged, Veregeire said the COVID patient is still required to undergo 14-day home quarantine.
“Ang pag-uulit ng test ay isinasagawa lamang pagkatapos sumailalim sa 14-day home quarantine ang pasyente, she said.
[The COVID test will be repeated after the 14-day home quarantine.]