BAGUIO CITY – Local health officials are not seeing any signs of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases going up even after the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga 2022 attracted thousands of tourists to the country's summer capital.

City health officer Dr. Rowena Galpo, in an interview on Tuesday, admitted that the city had expected an increase in cases when it eased restrictions in the city and when it held its famous three-week festival. However, the complete opposite seemed to have happened.

“Our vaccination rate is high and the residents are still observing the minimum public health protocols – like distancing, wearing of face mask, washing of hands, ventilation in buildings.”

She said these were the factors that contributed to the low number of cases being logged in the city despite it holding its famous three-week festival.

“Noong medyo nag-ease na tayo ng restriction, we expected na by end of February, tataas [kasi] open na tayo, nag Panagbenga tayo na nag start noon during the first week of March, the second week, the third week of March. April na tayo and we have not seen any indication of increases (When we eased our restrictions, we expected an increase in the cases by the end of February. We did the Panagbenga on the first week, the second week, the third week of March. And it is now April, we have not seen any indication of an increase in cases),” she said.

As of 6 p.m. on April 4, the city's Public Information Office posted that the city has seven active cases with an additional one case recorded on the same day. The city has recorded a total of 41,441 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

She said that a number of residents contracting the virus since the start of the pandemic could have added to the immunity of the people, aside from a good number of them receiving the vaccine.

“Iyong kadami ng cases natin, nagkaroon na tayo ng immunity by vaccination and by having the disease which is a natural immunity. So iyon siguro ang factors. We will continue to give the vaccine,” the doctor said.

The local government earlier said the city's mega vaccination facilities will already be shut down, though vaccination at rural health units in 128 villages in Baguio and private drugstores in the central business district will continue.

As of April 4, the city government has given the first dose of the vaccine to 293,637 people; the second dose to 280,416 people, and a booster shot to 106,829 people.

Baguio is targeting to inoculate 281,000 of its adult population against Covid-19, out of the city's 366,000 total residents, based on the survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2020.

Meanwhile, some 34,470 members of the pediatric population belonging to the 12 to 17-year-old age group or 85.67 percent of the 40,238 targets have been fully vaccinated.

Among children aged 5 to 11 years old, 8,250 have been fully vaccinated out of the 46,955 eligible population.

Galpo said they still do the mobile vaccination and get the help of the barangay health workers and nutrition scholars, including officials of the barangays, in convincing those who have not received the full dose or the booster shots to be vaccinated for their protection.

“We are still doing house-to-house convincing them to get the booster shot and the vaccine for those who have not been jabbed,” she said, adding that the city targets to get a 100-percent booster vaccination rate to help the country attain a total herd immunity. (PNA)