Davao Region records 5 Omicron variant cases

Hundreds flock to a vaccination hub at People’s Park in Davao City on Wednesday (5 January 2022) for booster shots as health officials are alarmed with the increase in COVID-19 cases just after the holidays and with the threat posed by the Omicron variant. Mindanews Photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 January) – The Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region confirmed Thursday the detection of five cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19, including two returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who were tested in other regions.

Dr. Rachel Joy Pasion, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of DOH-Davao, told a virtual press briefer on Thursday that three of these cases are ROFs while the two others are individuals with no history of any travel outside the country.

Three cases were detected from the 35 specimens that DOH-Davao submitted for whole genome sequencing to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center last Dec. 23 and 29, while the two others were tested in the National Capital Region and Clark, Pampanga.

All five cases have already been tagged as recovered upon release of the sequencing results, according to Pasion.

DOH-Davao said the first confirmed case in the region was a 23-year-old male ROF who is a resident of Davao del Sur. He was swabbed at the Philippine Red Cross Clark Molecular Laboratory last Dec. 18.

The second case was a 27-year-old female ROF, a resident of Davao City, who arrived from Singapore last December 18. Her specimen was collected and processed at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) molecular laboratory last Dec. 21, and was tagged as fully recovered last Jan. 2.

The third case was a fully-vaccinated 44-year-old male ROF from the United Kingdom who arrived in Manila last Dec. 22 and was swabbed four days later at the First Aide Diagnostic Center in NCR, on Dec. 26. He underwent a 14-day isolation in Manila before coming home to Davao del Norte.

The agency added that a fully vaccinated 28-year-old female resident of Davao Occidental with no history of travel abroad was the fourth Omicron case in the region. She was swabbed last Dec. 11 and her specimen processed at the SPMC molecular laboratory.

The region’s fifth case was a fully-vaccinated 63-year-old male, a resident of Davao Occidental with no history of travel abroad. He was swabbed last December 16, and his specimen was processed at SPMC.

DOH-Davao said it is closely working with the local government units to conduct intensive case investigation to ensure identification of all close contacts, completion of isolation and quarantine periods, and submission of eligible samples for sequencing.

“Re-testing will be done but re-quarantine is no longer necessary unless the case is symptomatic upon location. For the respective LGUs of the non-OFW cases, they are currently back tracing to determine their exposures and travel histories,” Pasion said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)