DOH flags decline of COVID-19 testing output in 14 regions

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2021 02:01 PM

Members of the Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance conduct COVID-19 swab testing for residents along Dupax Street in Barangay Old Balara on May 31, 2021.
Members of the Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance conduct COVID-19 swab testing for residents along Dupax Street in Barangay Old Balara on May 31, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—Testing output for COVID-19 in 14 regions have decreased in the past week, with the "largest decline" reported in Metro Manila, the Department of Health said Monday.

"We’ve observed that 14 regions had less number of RT-PCR tests done in the recent week versus the previous week," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.

The capital region logged the "largest decline" in testing output, with a positive rate of 16.4 percent in the recent week compared to previous week's 19.3 percent.

"The largest decline was for the National Capital Region, where from 266,042 it was lower by 37,383 tests or 14.1 percent. This translated to the lower positive individuals from 48,229 to 35,603," she said.

Vergeire said the agency was looking into the cause of the decline of the number of COVID-19 tests conducted by 14 regions.

"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 tests to complement the RT-PCR testing," she said.

According to DOH, 6 local government units in Metro Manila had reported a decrease in testing output for the last 2 weeks.

"Four local governments reported a general decrease in the case trend and, by extension, contacts detected —Caloocan, Pasig, Pateros and Mandaluyong," Vergeire said.

In the case of Parañaque, the decreased testing capacity of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine was cited as reason for its drop in testing output, she said.

Meanwhile, Pasay City reported a decrease in COVID-19 tests "due to the shift to the use of antigen tests," she added.

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

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