‘Aggressive, targeted testing’ starts

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Image from DOH COVID-19 Case Tracker

National Action Plan against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the country is ready for an aggressive and targeted testing to address the coronavirus’ impact on the country.

In a virtual presser last Sunday, he said Quezon City and Valenzuela have started the massive testing in Metro Manila, adding that 15 COVID-19 testing facilities are now ready to accept more than 2,000 suspected and probable cases. This is aside from the four COVID-19 referral hospitals with 830 bed capacity.

Nationwide, there are now 2,673 quarantine facilities with 165,756 beds.

Improving the country’s health capacity means increasing its testing capability. This translates to reaching 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

To do this, the government needs to increase and certify more subnational laboratories, and establish big testing centers in strategic areas around the country. Mr. Nograles said that if the government achieves these plans by April 27, it will be able to process 13,000 to 20,000 tests a day.

He added that the government is targeting to reach a 24-hour turnaround time for patients to know whether they are positive or negative to COVID-19. Contact-tracing should also be stricter and suspected cases be isolated immediately. These include symptomatic individuals with comorbidity, senior citizens, health workers, and high-risk pregnant women with or without history of exposure.