EASTERN VISAYAS LOGS 2 NEW CASES OF THE DELTA VARIANT

Press Release: August 26, 2021.

Two (2) new cases of the highly transmissible Delta Variant, or the B.1.617 lineage first identified in India, is added to the list as the Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH EVCHD) received additional report from the Department of Health’s Epidemiology Bureau. With this, there are now a total of 14 cases of the Delta Variant identified and tagged in the region.

The new cases are both with travel history across several countries and considered to be Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF). These cases are not linked to the previously reported cases regarding the said variant of concern, and are not locally transmitted. They are part of a new set of results received after their samples were sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center.

The first case tagged in Hilongos, Leyte is currently in Manila and have not returned yet to Hilongos or anywhere in the region since his arrival in the country. The case is currently still in isolation and reportedly asymptomatic. He was not yet vaccinated when the results of his sample yielded positive of the Delta Variant.

On the other hand, the case from Hindang, Leyte is eight (8) months pregnant and arrived in the region on August 9 thru the Tacloban DZR Airport. This case first completed her mandatory quarantine period from July 27 until August 8 in Davao City where she tested positive of the virus. Upon release and compliance of protocol, she travelled directly to Manila, and booked a flight for Tacloban City. Also unvaccinated, she is currently in isolation in the isolation facility identified by the Local Government Unit of Hindang, Leyte.

Due to strict adherence of travel protocols, there are no other identified close contacts of this case except for her driver during the trip from Tacloban City to Hindang, Leyte. This close contact identified by the surveillance team has been swabbed and his results yielded negative of COVID-19. The surveillance unit of DOH EVCHD, together with its partner agencies and the LGU concerned, currently monitors the case and awaits until her quarantine period is completed.

The DOH EVCHD reiterates that the purpose of whole genome sequencing is to guide the overall strategies of the respective local government units against COVID-19 and not for individual case management. The samples sequenced are already COVID-19-postive regardless of the variant. Therefore, management and treatment of these cases should remain the same while these data are released for public awareness. All necessary health measures should be implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Meanwhile, as aggressive vaccine strategies are being pursued by the DOH EVCHD, the region has now received a total of 1,001,670 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. This number is still expected to grow due to additional vaccine deliveries allocated for the region and is set to arrive within the month. To date, there are now 560,092 individuals who received their first jab of COVID-19 vaccine while 259,662 have received completed doses and are now fully vaccinated.

Following the detection of cases with variants of concern, it is of essence that to complement the strengthened vaccine initiative in the region, the intensified implementation of the Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, Reintegration strategies across all settings, stricter border control, and proper adherence to the minimum public health standards must be observed. Furthermore, the DOH EVCHD stresses the importance of vaccinating priority groups A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with underlying conditions) since they are at high risk for severe COVID-19 and death. Vaccines are effective in reducing morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19, which will be very instrumental in the institution’s primary goal of saving lives.

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