DOH confirms 32,000 estimated testing capacity

DOH confirms 32,000 estimated testing capacity

The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the estimated 32,000 daily testing capacity of licensed laboratories in the country.

DOH USec. Maria Rosario Vergeire clarified in a statement the 32,000 maximum capacity “is just an estimate, based on the number of machines, number of HR and the operating hours per laboratory.”

There are currently 42 licensed laboratories in the country that conduct COVID-19 testing, including 34 RT-PCR and eight GeneXpert.

Based on the latest data, 8,283 tests have been conducted within a day on May 23. Although the testing capacity has reached more than 30,000, the DOH explained that there are factors that affect the operations of laboratories such as availability of lab supplies in the market, health human resource issues, equipment issues, and issues in infrastructure.

Amid concerns on reaching 30,000 tests per day before May ends, USec. Vergeire said they “have assigned specific teams to focus on labs which are on the stage 3 and 4 of the licensing process so we can guide them and expedite their licensing in the next 2 weeks.”

“We have identified 17 labs which are possible to be licensed in the next 2 weeks. Included here would be 2 labs from PRC which has a huge capacity for testing,” Vergeire added.

Vergeire shared they have provided automated extraction machines in existing labs that can lessen processing time of samples by “four hours per run.”

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country reached 14,319 after 284 new cases were reported. Recoveries increased to 3,323 while the number of fatalities climbed to 873. The total active cases as of May 25 is 10,123. – Report from Mark Fetalco / ptvnews.ph

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