DOH-Davao sees clustering of variant cases

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 1 Sep) – Department of Health (DOH)-Davao region has noted a clustering of cases of variants of concern of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including the dreaded Delta, among close contacts within the households.

Swab testing in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

During a virtual press briefer via Zoom on Monday, Dr. Rachel Joy Pasion, head of the DOH-Davao’s Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit, told reporters that the clustering of mutated viruses of SARS-CoV-2 was expected because they could spread the infection faster than the original virus.

Pasion said majority of the variant cases reported in the region were still Beta but expressed concern that the genome sequencing results from University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center in Diliman are showing that the cases of the more infectious Delta are picking up gradually.

As of August 24, DOH-Davao reported 281 of Beta and 124 Alpha variant cases, which originally surfaced in South Africa and United Kingdom, respectively. On August 29, the agency reported 22 additional cases of the Delta variant, which originated from India, on August 29, bringing the total cases of this type to 48.

The World Health Organization declared Delta as the dominant variant in the Philippines. As of August 30, DOH reported 1,789 cases of Delta, of whom 38 remain active; 2,669 cases of Beta, with 15 active; and 2,395 Alpha, with 19 active.

“Actually, we have seen clustering of cases of Delta cases among their close contacts. Results from the whole genome sequencing showed that, true enough, we are seeing clustering, not only for Delta variant but also for other variants of concern, within their households or with their close contacts,” she said.

There is higher probability that those close contacts of patients with Delta could test positive of the same variant, she said.

As of Tuesday, DOH-Davao reported 621 new cases, bringing the total cases to 68,887 cases with 11,951 active, 54,751 recoveries, and 2,185 deaths.

Out of the total cases, Davao City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mindanao, logged 37,670 cases with 5,333 active, 31,126 recoveries and 1,211 deaths. Davao de Oro tallied 4,779 cases, Davao del Norte with 12,362, Davao del Sur with 6,792, Davao Occidental with 1,919, and Davao Oriental with 5,365. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)