Surigao Sur LGU officials insist they don’t have local Delta variant case yet

BAROBO, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews / 14 Sep) – It’s still not a local case despite the Department of Health-Caraga Region’s pronouncements early last week that Caraga region is no longer free from the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 based on the results of whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC).

Surigao del Sur. Map courtesy of Google

Both the Provincial Health Office and the local COVID-19 response in Barobo town have stood pat that the DOH-Caraga report about the first Delta case – a 26-year-old female, unvaccinated, and with a travel history from the National Capital Region (NCR) last July 10 who eventually decided to return to Caraga – was cleared of the virus before she went back to her hometown.

“Yes it is, her address is Barobo but that does not follow she was in Barobo during her infectious period. Do not worry, we remain safe from Delta, ok. But Covid is roaming around so we remain observant of the protocols,” says a reaction on a social media post by the LGU Barobo SdS Covid19 Updates.

For their part, the Provincial Health Office said Surigao del Sur remains free from Delta variant since the reported victim is not a local case that is feared to have infected others.

The PHO statement said all identified close contacts have been contact-traced and tested negative in reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.

“To this day, the Province of Surigao del Sur still has no local case of COVID-19 Delta Variant,” said the PHO statement.

The PHO added that currently, the case is asymptomatic and has been placed under quarantine. She has reportedly undergone a repeat RT-PCR test which yielded a negative result, and her first-generation close contacts were identified, quarantined and swabbed for RT-PCR test, all yielded negative results.

Last August 16, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual media briefing that all regions in the country based on the recent run, have Delta variant cases except Caraga.

Vergeire clarified that the three Delta variant cases detected from returning overseas Filipinos earlier reported to be from Caraga were not local cases.

Netizens were ranting about the non-disclosure on the location of the Delta variant case after reading about its announcement from a social media post of the DOH Center for Health Development-Caraga (DOH CHD-Caraga).

The DOH CHD-Caraga press statement said they are working closely on the matter through the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) to monitor the situation in the region.

“With the inevitable threat of the Delta variant and other Variants of Concern, we are escalating our efforts to speed up the vaccination program, especially to our most vulnerable population,” said Dr. Cesar C. Cassion, DOH CHD-Caraga chief.

He added: “We are not defenseless against the virus, in fact, we know what to do and we must be prepared. Let us keep the Filipino Bayanihan spirit alive by working together to defeat this invisible enemy.” (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)