Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country soared to 380, with 77 new confirmed cases, 25 fatalities, and 15 recoveries, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire revealed Sunday that current numbers are expected to spike in the coming days with continuous testing being implemented. 

“Ang ating mga laboratoryo ay nag-iistabilize na ang capacity. Ibig sabihin nito ay nakakahabol na tayo sa backlogs before. Na-extend na natin ang kapasidad sa ibang laboratories,” she said.

She added that new cases in the coming days may be deemed as “artificial” because of the delay in the past.

Earlier this year, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City is the only facility that can cater to test patients for COVID-19 with results released within 24 to 48 hours. 

However, the DOH announced that four other laboratories are now capable of conducting the COVID-19 tests: Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

Bicol Public Health Laboratory in Legazpi Cityand the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City will also be assigned as testing centers by the DOH.

Five more private laboratories in the country are also being considered as testing centers: Chinese General Hospital in Manila, St. Luke’s Medical Center – Quezon City, St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City, Makati Medical Center and The Medical City in Pasig City.  (RJ Espartinez)