GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 29 July) – The Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 confirmed on Thursday five more cases of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variants but said the patients have already recovered.
Aristotle Teofilo, medical technologist of the DOH-12 epidemiology and surveillance unit, said all five infections, composed of four with Alpha or United Kingdom and one with Beta or South African variants, were detected in the city.
He said this was based on the genome sequencing results released on Wednesday by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC).
“All these cases are now considered recovered since the release of the result was actually delayed due to the tedious sequencing process,” he said in a press briefing.
As of Thursday, he said a total of 27 cases of the new variants were already detected in the region’s four provinces and four cities.
A total of 14 cases were recorded in this city, eight in North Cotabato, four in South Cotabato, and one in Sultan Kudarat.
Teofilo said 17 patients were found infected with Alpha, five with Beta, two with variants of concern, and one each with Gamma or Brazilian, Delta or Indian, and P.3 or the strain first detected in the country.
He said the lone Delta variant case was a seafarer from the city who turned out positive upon arrival in Manila last April and tagged as recovered as of May 3.
Most of the cases so far involved returning overseas workers and travelers but he said there were some local cases detected, especially for the Alpha variant.
Teofilo said the DOH-12 and the rural health units are closely monitoring the areas where the local cases were detected and they have intensified efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
He assured that all patients were properly isolated and all close contacts were identified and subjected to quarantine and testing.
“We continually expand our surveillance activities throughout the region and we have been sending samples every week to UP-PGC,” he said.
Teofilo said their main concern right now is the possible spread to the area of the dreaded Delta variant as local transmission was already reported in parts of Northern Mindanao and the Davao region.
He said the concerned variant is highly transmissible and could potentially overwhelm local health systems once it reaches the area.
“We’re urging everyone to continually comply with the minimum health protocols and other control measures to protect ourselves from this disease,” he added. (MindaNews)