2 Delta variant cases in Davao exposed within household

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 August) – The two additional cases of Delta variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Davao City were exposed to an index case within their respective households, a local health official said.

City Health Office personnel label the swab samples taken at Magsaysay Park, Davao City on Friday (June 4, 2021) from residents who had contacts with persons who tested positive of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, focal person for Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, said during a virtual press conference of Department of Health (DOH)-Davao on Monday that the two patients – a 47-year-old male and 36-year-old female – were both swabbed last July 7 after they came in direct contact with a positive case.

Their specimens were among the samples submitted by the region last July 15 to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) in Diliman. The results of the genome sequencing of both samples also came out on the same day, July 29.

Although both cases were swabbed and their specimens submitted to UP-PGC on the same date, they did not share the same household nor were they from the same health district, Schlosser clarified in a text message on Tuesday.

She said all close contacts of the male patient in his household and community tested negative for COVID-19, but one of the household members of the female patient turned out positive for the virus.

She said they have yet to determine if the specimen of the patient could meet the criteria to qualify for genome sequencing, particularly the ones with a cycle threshold value of less than 30.

The cycle threshold indicates low viral load and entails the need for re-swabbing to secure samples for sequencing, according to DOH.

“From now on, if the case falls within the criteria of cycle threshold, we will be treating that case as Delta, so that we can contact-trace and isolate the close contacts outright even if the result of the genome sequencing has not yet been released since its turnaround time takes a while,” she said.

She said the measure will help mitigate the risk of spreading the Delta variant.

The two cases, who were asymptomatic, had fully recovered and were discharged from isolation last July 19 and July 21, respectively. The male patient received his first dose of Sinovac while the female one was unvaccinated.

She said contract-tracing teams were deployed to retrace the close contacts of both cases for repeat swabbing and quarantine.

“The retracing of close contacts is ongoing. Once identified, the quarantine for close contacts of the Delta variant case is mandatory whether F1, F1, or F3,” she said.

She said the detection of the additional cases of the more virulent COVID-19 variant could be considered a community transmission already, “given that these individuals have no history of travel.”

The recent cases brought the total to three in the city and four in Davao Region, including the first Delta case reported in Tagum City.

Aside from the threat of Delta variant, the region also reported new additional variants of concern cases, including 48 cases of Alpha and 128 cases of Beta. Of this total, Davao City logged 15 cases of Alpha and 73 cases of Beta; Davao del Sur, 5 Beta; Davao del Norte, 30 Alpha and 41 Beta; Davao de Oro, two Alpha and seven Beta; and Davao Oriental, one Alpha and two Beta.

As of August 2, the DOH-Davao reported 54,924 cases with 6,411 active, 46,688 recoveries, and 1,825 deaths.

Of the total cases, Davao City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mindanao, logged 30,756 infections with 2,709 active, 27,012 recoveries and 1,033 deaths. Davao de Oro tallied 4,273 cases, Davao del Norte 10,583, Davao del Sur 4,644, Davao Occidental 1,039, and Davao Oriental 3,629. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)