DOH probing drop in COVID-19 testing before confirming decrease in NCR cases

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2021 02:02 PM

MANILA— The Department of Health on Friday said it is investigating a reported drop in COVID-19 testing before it could say that the pandemic situation in the National Capital Region (NCR) has eased.

Nationwide testing declined to 539,229 this week from last week's 569,213, data from the DOH showed.

Testing in the National Capital Region dropped to 258,047 this week, from last week's 287,548, data showed.

"Gusto muna naming tingnan if our cases were affected by our testing output," DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press conference.

(We want to see first if our cases were affected by our testing output.)

"Baka walang magswa-swab, baka walang pang-swab, baka nagkasakit mga tao, nabawasan ng work force. So lahat po ito tinitingnan natin," she said.

(It is possible that they have no personnel to do the swab, they have no materials for swabbing, perhaps some staff fell ill so their work force was reduced. We are looking at all of these.)

In the past 2 weeks, the NCR registered a negative 1 percent growth in cases. Its risk classification was reduced to moderate from high risk as hospital bed occupancy rate eased to 68.30 percent. 

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy rate, however, remains high at 77.13 percent.

It's still "very early" to say that the number of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) is already declining, Vergeire said.

"It is very early to say na nagi-improve na ang ating sitwasyon sa NCR because of the policy shift," she said, referring to the change in quarantine restrictions with enforcement of the alert level system.

(It is very early to say that our situation in the NCR has improved because of the policy shift.)

"We need to be very sure so we wont mislead or misguide our public," she said. 

The government earlier implemented a new alert level system in the capital region, but the DOH said that this is "not equivalent" to a new type of community quarantine classification.

"Alert levels are issued so local government and communities are aware kung ano ang dapat gawin (what to do)," the DOH spokesperson said.

As of September 23, 2021, Metro Manila is the region with the most number of new COVID-19 patients with 4,505 cases.

About a quarter of NCR's cases, or 1,243 patients, are in Quezon City, Metro Manila's largest city.

Recent weeks have seen a continued rise in COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. The daily count of new cases, however, has been below the 20,000 mark after a record 26,303 cases were reported on Sept. 11.


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