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Alpha, Beta, Delta, P.3 variants detected in Eastern Visayas

Photo from DOH-EVCHD

VARIANTS of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) ranging from Alpha, Beta, Delta to variant under investigation P.3 have been detected in Eastern Visayas, the regional health department announced Thursday, August 12, 2021.

“All cases are considered to have been transmitted locally due to absence of any travel history outside the region amongst the individuals with the detected cases,” said the Department of Health (DOH) Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development (EVCHD).

The cases include three of the Alpha variant or B.1.1.7 first identified in the UK, seven cases of the Beta variant or B.1.351 first identified in South Africa, one more case of the Delta variant or the B.1.6.1.7 lineage first identified in India, and seven cases of variant under investigation P.3 first detected in the Philippines.

According to the regional health department, all these cases are still from the same set of 214 samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center for sequencing between June and July.

The three Alpha variant cases are from the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban, and Eastern Samar, while the seven Beta variant cases are from Western Samar (3), Eastern Samar (2), Northern Samar (1), and Biliran (1).

With the initial 10 reported cases of the Delta variant in the region, the agency’s Surveillance and Epidemiology Unit received another case detection of the said variant of concern in Borongan City, Eastern Samar, bringing the total Delta variant cases in the region to 11.

Meanwhile, the seven confirmed cases for the variant under investigation P.3 are from Western Samar (2), Eastern Samar (2), Tacloban (1), and Ormoc (2).

DOH-EVCHD stressed the importance of active case monitoring, surveillance, and contact tracing up to the third generation of all confirmed cases to control and contain any possible further transmission.

“This is imperative as the Hospital Utilization Rate of the hospitals in the region is affected by the salient surge of Covid-19 cases,” it said.

“Currently, the Hospital Utilization Rate of Ormoc is at a high risk level, moderate risk for Tacloban, and Samar, and the rest are still at a low risk level,” the agency said in a statement.

The regional health department called on the public and local leaders to observe the intensified implementation of the prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, reintegration strategies across all settings, stricter border control, and proper adherence to the minimum public health standards.

The agency maintained that “whole genome sequencing, or the comprehensive method used to determine other variants of concern, is conducted to guide the overall response strategies of the government and to determine if variants are causing spike in cases, and thus should not be used as point-of-care strategies.”

“Regardless of the presence of a variant of concern, the management and interventions for these cases remain the same,” it said.

As this developed, the regional health stressed the importance of vaccinating priority groups A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with underlying conditions) since they are at high risk for severe Covid-19 cases and death.

“Vaccines are effective in reducing morbidity and mortality due to Covid-19, which will be very instrumental in the institution’s primary goal of saving lives,” it said.

As of Thursday, August 12, Eastern Visayas logged 226 new Covid-19 cases and 456 new recoveries, bringing the region’s total number of Covid-19 cases to 37,912 with total recoveries at 36,266 (95.66 percent), total deaths at 430 (1.13 percent), and total active cases at 1,216 (3.21 percent). (SunStar Philippines)


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