By Joseph B.A. Marzan
The 16 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Iloilo City that were later found to be the more contagious Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, was only part of the 40 variant cases in the region, according to the Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, Jan. 27.
The DOH central office in Metro Manila issued a press release on Thursday detailing the results of the 618 COVID-19 samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) for sequencing to detect the Omicron variant.
In Western Visayas, the 40 Omicron cases included 30 local cases and 10 for Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), although these are still for verification.
Based on area of residence, Iloilo City has 16 cases (12 local, 4 ROF), Capiz with 14 local cases, Iloilo province has 3 cases (2 local, 1 ROF), Negros Occidental has 3 local cases, and Aklan and Guimaras have 1 local and 1 ROF case each.
DOH-Western Visayas said they are still coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) if the cases attributed to them are indeed in their area and if the patient is already within their declared address.
The regional health office also reiterated its call to the public to get their COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots from their LGUs.
“We strongly urge the public to complete their primary series of vaccines and boosters, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus such as the elderly, the young, and the sick. The vaccines provided by the government are proven to be safe and effective in preventing hospitalization, even death caused by severe and critical symptoms,” DOH-Region 6 said in a statement.
The 618 Omicron cases are comprised of 497 local cases and 121 ROFs. The results were released by PGC to the patients and their LGUs on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Other regions with confirmed presence of the variant in local cases include the National Capital Region (238), CALABARZON (71), Ilocos Region (30), Eastern Visayas (28), Central Luzon (27), Central Visayas (20), Cagayan Valley (19), Cordillera Administrative Region (13), Davao Region (10), SOCCSKSARGEN (6), Bicol Region and MIMAROPA (2 each), and Northern Mindanao (1).
Based on the DOH’s case line list, 13 cases are still active, 2 cases died, and 560 have been tagged as recovered, while the status of the remaining 48 are still being verified.
According to the DOH central office’s press release, there are currently 1,153 Omicron cases in the Philippines, with 5 confirmed deaths logged.