DOH notes surge in Delta variant cases

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol expressed apprehension as cases of the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant are now surging across the region for failure of the public to follow the mandatory health protocols.


Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol regional director, said that contact tracing is crucial to control the surge of these cases. “For not following the health protocols, the Covid-19, cases specifically delta variant is surging in Bicol. Contact tracing is crucial to control the surge and should be intensified,” the DOH Bicol chief said in a virtual press briefing on Monday, Aug. 30.


“In this time of surge, we have so many things to do. We will see if the LGUs are ready. The reported cases in Bicol are just a tip of the iceberg. What we are seeing is the alarming status and is about to explode. For every one case of Delta there might be eight other cases,” Vera said.


He urged the local government units (LGUs) to intensify the contact tracing in their respective localities to prevent further the escalation of the Delta variant. He said that asymptomatic or moderate cases should be put in isolation facilities.


The DOH official said that there are 109 cases of Covid-19 variants in Bicol based on the genomic sequencing result from the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) received by the Bicol Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) on Aug. 23 and 27, 2021 but the data was released only on Aug. 30


As of Aug. 30, Bicol region has a total of 109 local cases of said variants of concern since the first local cases of the variants were reported on July 21, 2021.


With the surge of Covid-19 cases in the region and the emerging threat of the highly transmissible variants of concern, the DOH urged the public to protect themselves by following the minimum public health standards (MPHS), which are still the best preventive measures against all variants and mutations of Covid-19.


According to Vera, the observance of the MPHS reduces the chance of being infected or spreading the Covid-19 virus. “By breaking the chain of transmission, it will also prevent the emergence of new mutations, which occur as the virus spreads from one person to another. Both the Beta and Delta variants are highly transmissible, he said.


Some 71 cases of different variants of Covid-19 were recorded to in the region on Aug 23 and 27. Of this number, 15 were cases of UK variant (Alpha), 33 were cases of the South African variant (Beta) and 23 were local cases of Indian variant or the Delta variant.


The cases the different Covid-19 variants are as follow:


For Alpha variant -Tabaco City (1); Legazpi City (1); Camarines Sur (5); Catanduanes (5); Masbate (1); and Sorsogon (2).


On the Beta variant: Albay (3); Legazpi City (2); Tabaco City (2); Camarines Norte (5); Camarines Sur (3); Naga City (2); Catanduanes (6); Masbate (4); Masbate City (2); Sorsogon (3); and Sorsogon City (1).


On Delta variant: Albay (6); Camarines Sur (7); Naga City (4); Masbate (2); Masbate City (3); and Sorsogon (1).


To reduce the risk of getting infected, religiously practice wearing of face masks and face shields properly, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distancing of at least one meter, avoid poorly ventilated rooms, stay at home and refrain from all forms of social gatherings. The public is also advised to immediately isolate when sick, wear masks, and seek immediate medical consultation, DOH said.


The DOH also appealed to priority groups to get themselves inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccines.


“It is crucial for health workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones from serious illness and death due to Covid-19. Don’t choose for vaccine as a virus might come ahead of you. I urged the LGUs to prioritize the A1, A2, and A3 for vaccination,” Vera said.


The DOH also called on the local chief executives to strictly implement the BIDA Solusyon Plus and speed up their vaccination rollout for priority groups.