DOH observes drop in COVID-19 testing in 14 regions

Published October 4, 2021, 12:55 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

MASS TESTING — Medical workers collect swab samples from residents during the pilot run of Makati City’s Pool Swab Testing at the Makati Coliseum. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Department of Health (DOH) has observed a decline in the number of coronavirus swab tests conducted in majority of the regions in the country recently.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the number of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted in 14 regions decreased compared to the previous week.

“We’ve observed that 14 regions had less number of RT-PCR tests done in the recent week versus the previous week,” Vergeire said in virtual briefing Monday, Oct. 4

Based on Vergeire’s presentation, the number of samples tested in 14 regions—except in Regions 3, 4-B, and 5—decreased in the recent week as compared to the previous week.

The largest decline, she said, was for the National Capital Region (NCR), from 266,042 tests, it dropped by 14.1 percent 37,383 tests. “This translated to the lower positive individuals from 48,229 to 35,603.”

Testing in NCR

The Health official noted that six local governments in Metro Manila reported a decrease in the number of tests reported to them for the last two weeks.

Of these, four local governments namely Caloocan, Pasig, Pateros, and Mandaluyong reported a general decrease in the case trend and, by extension, contacts detected.

Vergeire said Parañaque cited a decrease in testing capacity by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) as a reason for the decrease in their tests reported.

“Only Pasay reported a decrease in tests reported due to the shift to the use of antigen test,” she added.


The Health department is still assessing the reasons behind the decline in the testing output.

“We are still assessing the reasons for this decline, and if this reflects a true decline in cases or is affected by other factors such as ongoing active case finding and contact tracing and the use of rapid antigen test to complement the RT-PCR testing,” Vergeire said.

With cases in most areas starting to decline, the DOH underscored the need to address the drop in the COVID-19 testing output.

“As cases in most areas are starting to decline, there is a need to address the decrease in testing output, ensure daily submission of antigen linelist, and continue active case finding to validate this decline,” she said.

“While we are seeing a decline in cases, we should not be complacent. Let us not let our guards down,” she added.