THE molecular laboratories of Negros Occidental are stepping up their monitoring and continue to be on the lookout for new variants of Sars-Cov-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), an official of the province said Thursday, January 13.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said this is to immediately isolate those who will be infected with these variants and avoid further local transmissions.

Negros Occidental, which is still under alert level 2 in terms of Covid-19 transmissions, remains free from the more contagious Omicron variant.

"We will follow the announcement of the Inter-Agency Task Force through Secretary KarloNograles," he said, adding that "we have to follow one announcement only and that is the one made by the the National Inter-Agency Task Force that governs the classification status of the areas."

Diaz said Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson will issue an Executive Order (EO) extending the Alert Level 2 status of the province.

The Department of Health-Western Visayas has raised the classification of the province to Alert Level 3 with moderate risk transmission.

Diaz said there is an increase of Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental but the occupancy rate in the province's main isolation centers remains low.

Data presented by Diaz showed that as of January 10, the Cadiz District Hospital, the province's primary Covid-19 isolation facility, only has 15 occupants.

"We haven't seen yet a spike in the hospital utilization," Diaz said.

They are hoping that they have done enough diligence by requiring negative RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests results for travelers coming from Alert Level 3 areas, he added.