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DOH cites decrease in COVID-19 testing

A decrease in the number of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for COVID-19 was observed in 14 regions “in the recent week versus the previous week,” a Department of Health (DOH) official said yesterday.

“The largest decline was for the National Capital Region (NCR) 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,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum.

Vergeire said the DOH is still assessing “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 test to complement the RT-PCR testing”.

She said six local governments in the NCR have reported a decrease in COVID-10 tests in the last two weeks including Caloocan, Pasig, Pateros and Mandaluyong that reported “a general decrease in the case trend.”

“Parañaque cited a decrease in testing capacity by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine as the reason for the decrease in their tests reported,” Vergeire said. “Only Pasay reported a decrease in test reported due to the shift in the use of antigen test.”

Compared to the previous seven days from September 18 to 24, the DOH has observed a decline in the daily tests at 11.8 percent.

The national positivity rate in the recent seven days dropped to 22 percent from 24 percent recorded in the previous week.

To address the decrease in the testing output, the DOH would ensure the submission of antigen line-list and to continue the active case finding to validate the decline.

“We must continue strengthened strategies to further hammer down transmission, shorten interval from detection to isolation, ensure facility isolation, and ramp-up vaccination,” Vergeire said.

According to DOH data on October 1, about 20.2 percent of 64,747 who were tested turned out positive for COVID-19.

On Sunday, the DOH logged 13,273 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases in the country to 112,008 or 4.3 percent of all cases.

The country’s recovery count also increased to 2,242,623 after 45,249 patients recovered from the disease.*PNA

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