DOH extends COVID test to other asymptomatic groups
The Department of Health announced its plans to expand testing to include certain asymptomatic subgroups.
Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire discussed with infectious disease experts Benjamin Co and Anna Ong-Lim, discussed the department’s new direction in testing during a virtual presser.
Ong-Lim said that there will still be criteria for deciding which groups of the asymptomatic population should be tested in order to efficiently maximize the limited supply.
“Gusto natin na pag tayo ay nagtetest ay ‘yung may malaki-laking tsansa na magpa-positive sila or di kaya kung mag-positive man ang tinest natin ay napakalaki yung pakinabang nung positive test na ‘yun sa paggagamot o sa pagsusuporta sa kanilang kalusugan,” Ong-Lim emphasized.
“So alin po ‘yung mga gusto nating tukuyin? Unang-una ay yung mga walang sintomas pero nagkaroon ng close contacts sa mga nagkasakit,” Ong-Lim said.
“Kasama dito ang mga kapamilya ng maysakit, mga kasamahan sa trabaho ng mga may sakit o di kaya ang mga health care workers na nag-aalaga sa mga may sakit.”
While testing is a vital part of the country’s overall strategy against the pandemic, expanded targeted testing together with other strategies such as prevention through increasing resilience, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment, and management remains to be the ideal approach to quell the spread of the disease.
Co, an infectious diseases and clinical pharmocology expert, reported that the Philippines’ Covid-19 positivity rate of 7.2 percent is below the World Health Organization’s 10 percent benchmark, is a good indicator that the country is sufficiently testing.
The positivity rate shows what percentage of the population that has been tested turns out positive for the disease.
Co noted that the case fatality rate is within 4.8 percent, which will likely decrease further once testing is expanded.
Ong-Lim said that tests may sometimes detect fragments or remnants of the virus that remain but this does not mean that the individual is still infectious.
Testing negative does not guarantee immunity, and people should remain cautious even after being screened. – DOH release