EV LOGS HIGHEST NUMBER OF ADDITIONAL DELTA VARIANT CASES AT 34

Press Release| September 13, 2021.

A total of 37 new variant of concern cases have been detected in the region thru the report received from the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health. This include 34 cases of the highly transmissible Delta Variant or the B.1.6.1.7 lineage first identified in India, two cases of the Beta Variant or B.1.351 first identified in South Africa, and one case of the Variant Under Investigation P.3 first detected in the Philippines. With this recent addition, there are now a total of 65 cases of the Delta Variant identified and tagged in the region. This is the highest addition that the Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development has recorded to the list of the Delta cases in the region, so far.

All of the mentioned cases are still from the set of 104 samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sequencing last August 10, 2021. This means that this is in the same set as the previously reported batch of variant of concern cases and all are considered to be local cases.

Of the 34 cases of the Delta Variant, there are 12 cases tagged in Eastern Samar: four in Borongan, two cases each in the municipalities of Hernani, Guian, and Taft, and one case of the variant in San Julian and Sulat. Also, there are four cases in Western Samar: there are two in Zumarraga, and one case each in Basey and Hinabangan. At the same time, there are 16 cases in the province of Leyte: two cases in Alang-Alang and Merida, one case in Palo, Capoocan, Baybay, Tanauan and eight cases of the Delta Variant in Leyte, Leyte. Moreover, Tomas Oppus in Southern Leyte and Tacloban City records one additional case of the Delta Variant each.

On the other hand, the Beta Variant cases are from Anahawan and St. Bernard in Southern Leyte and the Variant Under Investigation P.3 has also been detected in Leyte, Leyte.

Currently, the Surveillance Team of the DOH EVCHD is conducting active case investigations and monitoring to determine further details linked to the cases including the close contacts up to the third generation for case surveillance. All partner agencies, and the LGUs concerned are in close coordination to ensure the safety of the detected cases. The DOH EVCHD stresses the importance of active case monitoring, surveillance, and contact tracing up to the third generation of all confirmed cases to control and contain any possible case of further transmission.

Following the detection of cases with variants of concern, it is of essence that 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. The DOH EVCHD reiterates that whole genome sequencing, or the comprehensive method used to determine other variants of concern, is conducted to guide the overall response strategies of the government and to determine if variants are causing spike in cases, and thus should not be used as point-of-care strategies. Regardless of the presence of a variant of concern, the management and interventions for these cases remain the same.

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. The institution reaffirms that as vaccination efforts are escalated, the public is reminded that 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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