Mayor imposes new rules on COVID variant management

Al Destacamento photo

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas issued Executive Order (EO) No. 086 on Wednesday, September 1, detailing how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients identified with variants of concern (VOCs) or variants of interest (VOIs) would be treated.

The VOC/VOI labels were given by the World Health Organization (WHO) to the following confirmed COVID variants:

  • VOC

–       Alpha (B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom);

–       Beta (B.1.351, first detected in South Africa);

–       Gamma (P.1, first detected in Brazil); and

–       Delta (B.1.617.2, first detected in India);

  • VOI

–       Eta (B.1.525, detected in multiple countries);

–       Iota (B.1.526, first detected in the United States);

–       Kappa (B.1.617.1, first detected in India);

–       Lambda (C.37M, first detected in Peru); and

–       Mu (B.1.621, first detected in Colombia).

Also considered as a “special VOI” by the Department of Health (DOH) is the Theta variant (P.3), which was first detected here in the Philippines.

The Delta variant, which was said to be more contagious and spreads faster than other variants, has its own distinct management protocol under EO 086.

Confirmed Delta cases would be transferred to quarantine facilities and close contacts will also be traced, whether or not they have recovered or are an active case.

These cases would be subject to repeat testing via the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) method, after which they would have to complete a 14-day quarantine.

Delta cases who yield negative results in the re-swab tests would only have to complete the 14-day mandatory facility-based quarantine, but other identified VOC cases would not need to undergo quarantine.

Those who are positive for COVID in the re-swab tests would have to undergo facility-based quarantine until they yield negative results in another repeat test. If repeat tests continue to show positive results, the patients would be referred to an Infectious Disease Specialist for further management.

The procedure will also be the same for those who have been positively identified as close contacts of the Delta and other VOC cases.

Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD) data as of Aug. 28 showed that Iloilo City has had 55 variant cases (13 Alpha, 12 Beta, 18 Delta, and 12 Theta).