THE Department of Health (DOH) is hoping to clear its backlog in case validation as soon as four laboratories submit their complete line list this week.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 38 out of the 42 licensed laboratories operating in the country have submitted their complete line list.
“Kapag dumating na po ang kumpletong line list na ‘to mula sa natitirang apat na laboratoryo, mava-validate na po natin lahat ng natitirang kaso at mauubos na po natin ang mga cases for validation na hindi pa naipapasok sa ating official count,” Vergeire said during the DOH virtual briefing Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
(Once the remaining four laboratories submit their complete line list, we will be able to validate the remaining cases and clear the backlog.)
Once the backlog is cleared, Vergeire said the agency will be reporting only fresh cases.
This will give a clearer picture of the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease) epidemic in the country.
The complete line list details the tests conducted by the laboratory since it started operations.
This list is also the basis for the DOH’s case validation efforts, which are aimed at preventing double entries.
Double entries are possible when a patient undergoes multiple tests, names of patients are written or spelled in different ways, or multiple tests are taken and processed by different laboratories, among others.
“Bagaman mababawasan ang discrepancy o agwat sa pagitan ng confirmed cases sa ating case bulletin at ang bilang ng positive individuals tested sa ating situational report, di lubusang mawawala ang agwat na ito dahil posibleng magkaroon pa rin po tayo ng duplicates sa isang laboratoryo dahil sa encoding errors o dahil ang isang kaso ay may repeat test na ginagawa sa iba’t ibang laboratoryo.
As of June 2, DOH reported a total of 18,997 cases in the country. The number of positive individuals based on the agency’s situation report, however, exceeds 23,000.
Vergeire reiterated that the positive cases in the DOH situation report have yet to be validated. Based on the reports that were submitted by the 38 laboratories, a lot of these cases were duplicates.
“To understand the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, we take into consideration the number of confirmed cases in our case bulletins, not the crude number of positive individuals tested under the testing capacity based on our situation report,”
She said the patients considered as late cases are usually confined in hospitals or in community isolation and quarantine facilities.
Vergeire said the number of laboratories that submitted their daily accomplishment reports improved to 38 on June 1 compared to 15 on May 31.
The delayed submission of these reports is one of the reasons for the backlog in case validation.
Vergeire said the deployment of the Covid-Kaya information system has facilitated the submission of these reports.
“Malaking bagay po ito (on-time submission of daily reports) sapagkat kapag ang lahat na mga laboratoryo natin ay nagpapasa on time ng kanilang daily accomplishment reports, wala po tayong maiiwang backlogs for validation at ibig sabihin ay fresh cases na lamang po ang ating ire-report,” she said.
(If all laboratories submit their daily accomplishment reports on time, there will be no backlog of cases for validation. This means we will be reporting only the fresh cases.)
“Kapag nangyari po ito, masasabi po natin na mas accurate na po ang sitwasyon na nakikita kada araw base sa mga bagong kaso na papasok dito sa ating case bulletin,” she added.
(When this happens, we can say that we have a more accurate picture of the situation based on the fresh cases that are included in our case bulletin.)
The DOH on May 29 modified its case bulletin to reflect the fresh or new cases and late cases caused by delayed reporting by the laboratories. (Marites Villamor-Ilano/SunStar Philippines)