DOH: Critically ill, vulnerable groups have priority in COVID-19 mass tests

Published April 14, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By MB Online

People without coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms will not yet be included in the mass testing as the country does not have sufficient resources, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire (PNA / MANILA BULLETIN)
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire (PNA / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Hindi po ito ibig sabihin ay lahat ng Pilipino iti-test natin. Hindi rin po ito indiscriminate testing… Sa ngayon po hindi sufficient ang resources natin para maisagawa natin ito,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo.

Vergeire said that those who are “critically ill” patients, vulnerable groups like the elderly, pregnant women and those with pre-existing health problems, then health workers, and patients with symptoms of the disease will be prioritized in the mass testing.

“Pag naabot na po natin yung 8,000 tests sa mga laboratoryo, isusunod na po natin yung mga may sintomas at history of travel,” the health secretary said.

She said that those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms but have a history of travel abroad or exposure to COVID-19 carriers will be their last priority in the mass testing.

There are so far only 10 laboratories that can process COVID-19 tests, Vergeire said.

“Sa ngayon, ang may kapasidad pa lang po ay yung sampu, dahil nga po yung lima kakalisensya pa lang po kahapon,” she said.

Vergeire said that the other five laboratories would take three to four days of preparation before they could run tests.

As of Tuesday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 4,932. Of those, 315 died and 242 recovered.