DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 June) – No coronavirus variant of concern (VOC) has been detected lately in the Davao region amid the alarming surge in new daily infections in the area, an official of the Department of Health-Davao (DOH-Davao) said Monday.
Dr. Raquel D. Montejo, chief of the Local Health Support Division of DOH-Davao, told a press briefing that none of the specimens submitted recently by the agency to the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) for genome sequencing had tested positive for any variant of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
She said the agency submits specimens to UP-PGC weekly.
Health authorities in the country earlier confirmed the detection of the South African, UK and Indian variants in the National Capital Region and Cebu, including the latest variant called “P-3” that was first detected in the Philippines.
Davao City reported way back February 13 its first case of the UK variant or B.1.1.7, after a specimen of a 10-year-old boy whose family had no travel history yielded positive genome sequencing result.
On June 2, Dr. Ashley Lopez, acting head of the City Health Office, told Davao City Disaster Radio 87.5 FM that he suspected that the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in the past few months could have been caused by the presence of an “undetected” variant of SARS-CoV-2.
“I cannot confirm it, but this year I suspect that there is a variant that’s going around because the increase in new cases is very fast… It’s seven times faster than what we had last October and November,” he said.
Montejo said that from January 1 to June 13, DOH-Davao reported 20,892 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including the 403 new cases recorded on Sunday, compared with the 12,589 cases recorded from mid-March to December 31, 2020.
The total COVID-19 cases in the region stood at 33,481 with 6,409 active, 25,849 recoveries and 1,223 deaths.
“Our total cases this year nearly doubled from that of last year, and we’re still halfway through the year,” Montejo said.
Out of the total cases, Davao City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mindanao, logged 19,833 cases with 3,353 active, 15,677 recoveries and 803 deaths.
Davao de Oro tallied 609 cases, Davao del Norte with 1,469, Davao del Sur with 550, Davao Occidental with 126 and Davao Oriental with 302.