By Gabriela Baron

The rise in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases is related to increased testing capacity and more people being tested, adult infectious disease expert Dr. Karl Henson said in an interview over CNN on Wednesday (June 24).

testcovid - High number of COVID-19 cases due to increased testing capacity –infectious disease expert

(Eloisa Lopez/Reuters / MANILA BULLETIN)

“There are several reasons. Probably one is I think we’re testing more. Our lab capacity has increased when compared to early March,” said Henson, director of The Medical City’s Hospital Infection Control and Epidemiology Center.

“We’re seeing less and less cases of, at least in the Metro, severe COVID-19. I think the rise in the number of cases has more to do with increased testing capacity and we’re testing more and more people,” he added.

At present, the Department of Health (DOH) said the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity is 12,000 to 13,000 a day. As of June 22, the Philippines had 64 licensed laboratories that have tested a total of 558,163 individuals.

“But also we cannot discount the fact that symptomatics are still transmitting the virus… we just have to protect ourselves from getting infected,” Henson said.

The physician also underscored the importance of expediting the release of test results.

“It’s important for us to get a sense of how many cases we’re seeing in the past couple of days and not modelled that up with backlog cases. Yes, it’s important to get a bigger picture like how many cases in total, but it’s also important to see how many cases were diagnosed in the past couple of days because it will allow us to see whether we’re seeing an uptick in the number of cases,” Henson said.

“It’s important we get the result as fast as we can so we can make a decision for patients, also so we can define what the current situation is,” he added.

On Tuesday, DOH reported a record-high number of 1,150 infections, 789 of which are “fresh” and 361 reported “late.” Among the fresh cases, 207 are from the NCR and 288 are from Region VII.

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