The Department of Health (DOH) is planning to test at least 1.5% of the 110 million Filipino population for COVID-19 by the end of July, DOH Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on June 15.
According to Vergeire, the country has a testing capacity of almost 50,000 tests per day, thanks to the 59 operational COVID-19 testing laboratories.
"Nakukuha po natin ang rated capacity kapag tiningnan natin ang isang lisensyadong laboratoryo, base sa kanilang RT-PCR machines kung ilan 'yan, base sa kung ang health human resources ay kumpleto, base rin po sa operating hours ng isang laboratory and then we compute for their maximum capacity na pwedeng magawa base sa resources," she said.
Vergeire clarified that the actual testing capacity differs from the projected testing capacity due to limitations and operational issues in some laboratories.
"Ang atin pong average ay pumapalo na po sa 10,500 to 11,000 a day for output. Hopefully po magtuloy-tuloy para pagdating ng end of July we can reach that we have tested 1.5% of the population," she said.
To meet the 1.5% target, the DOH has to test about 1.65 million people. As of June 13, the DOH has tested 468,681 individuals.
Vergeire said the DOH is trying different means in order to bump up the actual testing capacity closer to the projected testing capacity.
She also mentioned that other vulnerable people such as barangay health workers, emergency response teams, and social workers had to undergo testing.
More COVID-19 laboratories are going through the process of accreditation, which means an increase in number of samples processed should the laboratory be accredited.