DOH reporting of COVID-19 cases more accurate, transparent – Garin

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 2)— The Health Department's new system of reporting COVID-19 cases proves to be more accurate and transparent, its former chief said Tuesday.

Iloilo Rep. and former Health Secretary Janette Garin lauded the agency for "admitting the gaps" in the reportage, saying the new approach of identifying "fresh" and "late" cases would give a clearer picture of the degree of the disease's infection in the country.

"What we see now, the fresh and the late cases, is more accurate," Garin told CNN Philippines' The Source. "It's accurate because the figures that were being given to us before was not that accurate. Because some reported too late, others had incomplete information so they could not report it."

"It's actually being transparent, it's admitting the faults done initially. It's correcting the data so that strategists and people will understand the degree of infection," she added.

Garin stressed the importance of the validation process in the COVID-19 testing protocols, adding the alignment of data from laboratories is likewise a crucial part in government's reporting.

She said that while testing was ramped up in several laboratories, some facilities were submitting results late, while others delivered reports containing just the positive or negative results "without the benefit of the data of the patient."

The Health Department last week changed its way of presenting daily COVID-19 data by separating "fresh” cases, or those whose test results were released within the last three days, from "late" cases, or those whose results were released after more than four days.

The move, however, drew mixed reactions from netizens and lawmakers alike.

Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, in a social media post, urged officials not to "fudge" the figures, saying the new reporting scheme merely became an "ego saving device."

Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, on the other hand, said officials were "not completely honest in their daily situation report before" given the situation in the testing backlogs.

DOH earlier assured that accredited COVID-19 testing centers have been working double time to clear backlogs, noting how these "aggressive efforts" have become a factor in the spike of daily confirmed coronavirus infections.

To date, the Philippines has logged over 18,000 cases of the infectious disease.