By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Wednesday the increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases was the obvious result of the country’s expanded testing capabilities.
Nograles made the statement after the Department of Health (DOH) reported Tuesday that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 5,223, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries.
In his Wednesday virtual press conference, Nograles said the increase was the result of more tests being conducted in the country.
“This increase in the COVID-19 cases is obviously a function of the expansion of our testing capacity. The more tests we conduct, the more positive COVID-19 we expect to see,” he said.
According to the DOH, 43,500 tests have been conducted on 38,103 individuals, leaving the country with an inventory of 99,750 test kits.
Nograles said more test kits are being delivered.
In his report submitted to Congress on Monday, President Duterte said the country can conduct 900,000 tests in all activated COVID-19 PCR or polymerase chain reaction laboratories in the next three months.
The country has a total of 11 laboratories and hospitals for COVID-19 testing as of April 7. The DOH targets a capacity of 8,000 tests per day.
The DOH has launched the StaySafe.ph website and mobile application that helps in monitoring the real-time health condition of COVID-19 patients. It also aids the government in tracking suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
In its website, one of the functions of the StaySafe initiative is to remind the public to “keep distance from communities with COVID-19 cases.”
“We can contribute to the national level tracing of COVID-19 by using StaySafe in our own communities,” a portion of the website read.
Users can likewise “protect” their loved ones by reporting health conditions without disclosing their identities or sensitive information. The website will also give tips on what to do when someone starts experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Nograles said the country’s quarantine and isolation facilities are ready to accept patients showing mild or no symptoms of COVID-19. This includes the six COVID-19 We Heal as One Centers, two ships, and the presidential yacht BRP Ang Pangulo.
As of April 11, 2,705 quarantine facilities with a total bed capacity of 166,435 have been built, serving 1,644 confirmed, probable, and suspected COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.
A total of 29 evacuation centers are now being used as quarantine facilities, serving a total of 494 suspect, probable, and possible cases. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)