Press Release/11 June 2020
The Department of Health (DOH) has updated its interim guidelines on expanded risk-based testing of COVID-19 cases. Department Memorandum No. 2020-0258 was adopted in view of the increased RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing capacity of the country.
The new subgroups broadens the coverage of persons to be tested to include suspect cases, individuals with travel history and exposure (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), and healthcare workers with possible exposure (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic).
The following list of subgroups of individuals are considered at-risk and are eligible for testing, arranged from greatest to lowest need for testing:
● Subgroup A: patients or healthcare workers with severe/critical symptoms, and relevant history of travel or close contact;
● Subgroup B: patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, with relevant history of travel or close contact and who are considered vulnerable. These vulnerable populations include the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions that predispose them to severe presentation and complications of COVID-19;
● Subgroup C: patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, and relevant history of travel or close contact;
● Subgroup D: patients or healthcare workers with no symptoms but with relevant travel history and close contact;
● Subgroup E: frontliners indirectly involved in healthcare provision in the response against COVID 19; and
● Subgroup F: other vulnerable patients such as those with comorbidities, those who will undergo high-risk, elective surgical procedures, those living in confined spaces, and others
In particular, those in Subgroup E includes the following:
a. personnel manning temporary treatment and quarantine facilities;
b. personnel manning control points;
c. National/Regional/Local Risk Reduction and Management teams;
d. Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and barangay officials providing barangay border control;
e. personnel of Bureau of Corrections and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology;
f. personnel serving at COVID-19 swabbing center;
g. social workers providing amelioration and relief assistance to communities and performing COVOD-19 related tasks
Meanwhile those in Subgroup F include the following:
a) pregnant patients who shall be tested during the peripartum period
b) dialysis patients and immunocompromised patients with HIV, those chemotherapy or radiotherapy
“With the invaluable support from our partners, the hardworking DOH family, and the active participation of all our laboratories, we have significantly increased our testing capacity. We have thus updated our guidelines to be attuned to the needs of all those needing to be tested. With adequate testing,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque said.