MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reminded the public to remain on alert despite the declining number of COVID-19 cases being recorded in the Philippines.
The DOH issued the reminder amid a dip in fresh coronavirus infections reported daily.
On Thursday, the country logged 10,019 new COVID-19 cases while the past few days saw over 9,000 new infections. The DOH earlier said that the lower case count was due to lower laboratory output.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency is analyzing all factors, including the decrease in laboratory outputs, and test outputs resulting in lower positivity rate and fewer hospital admissions, to determine whether the drop in case count is artificial or not.
“We got all the factors, we identified all the factors, and we tried to analyze kung talagang kumpirmado po that the decline of cases is not affected by any other factor at ito po ay totoong pagbaba ng kaso,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.
She, however, stressed that decreasing cases is not a sign for the public to become complacent.
“Alalahanin po natin na bagama’t bumababa ang mga kaso, ang atin pong mga ospital ay meron pa rin pong pagkapuno,” she said.
“Although, 68% lang ICU utilization natin ngayon, kailangan pa ring mapag-ingatan, patuloy na mapababa, at madecongest ang mga ospital so that we can be able to move on and open up some sectors again in our economy,” she added.
Vergeire also noted that the lower laboratory outputs are due to the use of antigen tests.
She also reminded the public that antigen test kits are only used in specific circumstances in order to get accurate results.
“Katulad po noong mga paggamit natin sa ngayon, kailangan din alalahanin natin ‘pag gumamit tayo, kailangan nari-report po natin sa mga kinauukulan para naisasama po natin at makumpleto natin ang datos natin,” she said.
“So if ever this will be given regulatory clearance by the Food and Drug Administration, ito po ay masasama doon sa modalities pero kailangan may guidelines po na ipapatupad so that we can also regulate the use,” she added.
The DOH earlier said that the use of antigen test is most effective for people who already manifested symptoms within the first five days of their onset as the viral load of the patient is at the highest during this time.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19 response previously said that the number of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 through rapid antigen tests will be included in the Philippines’ case count.
The task force also directed the DOH NCR Center for Health Development to monitor and facilitate registration of facilities using rapid antigen kits and ensure that antigen line tests are collected and consolidated from health facilities, localities, as well as temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.