MANILA - The Department of Health on Wednesday said 72 laboratories around the Philippines are still up for assessment if it can be used to test patients for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippines currently has 9 public laboratories and two from private institutions—St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City and The Medical City in Pasig - that test for COVID-19.
"Meron pa tayong nakapila na around 72 na laboratoryo na ia-assess natin all over the county,” she said in a radio DZMM interview.
The increase in number of laboratories will complement the mass testing that would be done as a measure to curb the spread of the highly infectious disease in the county.
"Itong mass testing magiging risk-based pa rin. Ito ay magiging progressive. We are saying it's progressive kasi tinitingnan natin na 'yung testing maiaangat natin mula sa 8,000 hanggang sa mga 15,000 tests a day base sa mga istratehiya na meron tayo,” she said.
Vergeire said they will prioritize the severely ill, the vulnerable sector and healthcare workers who now show symptoms of the virus for testing.
“Pag narating na natin ating target na 8,000 test per day mag e-expand tayo ng coverage para makuha ang ibang sektor ng ating lipunan na nagkakaron ng sintomas,” she said.
Meanwhile, community quarantine facilities like the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the PICC and the World Trade Center will be used to house those who tested positive for the virus and may or may not show symptoms.
Those who have other illnesses are urged to take advantage of the telemedicine services for free medical consultations.
“Ang objective natin mabawasan paglabas ng mga tao, especially those sick and needing consultation para po hindi na sila makisalamuha sa ospital o medical clinics para ma-cut natin ang transmission,” she said.
The DOH earlier called for volunteer health workers to be deployed in COVID-19 referral hospitals.
Vergeire also said the DOH has partnered with the University of the Philippines-Diliman Molecular Biology Unit for volunteers to serve in their laboratories.