Bacolod COVID-19 cases double overnight in early January

Marchel Espina
Bacolod COVID-19 cases double overnight in early January

Bacolod City residents line up for regular and booster vaccine shots on January 5, 2021 in a 24-7 center put up by the city government

Bacolod City PIO

(1st UPDATE) The positivity rate at the molecular lab of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Negros Occidental’s biggest COVID-19 referral center, hits 23.25% on January 5

BACOLOD, Philippines – A few hours after the city information office posted 16 new cases in this city on Wednesday night, January 5, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases doubled, the Executive Operations Center (EOC) said.

EOC Executive Director Em Ang on Thursday, January 6, said contact-tracing cluster head Dr. Rosalie Deocampo informed the body that people with a travel history accounted for the 18 new cases. The EOC labeled the first 16 cases as locally acquired infections.

Ang told Rappler that the city’s real-time data showed 14 cases on January 4, 16 on January 5, and 34 on January 6.

The Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH), Negros Occidental’s biggest COVID-19 referral center, on January 6 said the positivity rate at its mollecular laboratory hit 23.26% on January 5. 

Combining the results of January 4 and 5 tests yielded a positivity rate of 18.11%, the hospital said. 

The hospital’s molecular lab, which processes most of the city government’s samples and others from the province, analyzed 254 swab samples over two days.

Ang gave a slightly different figure, saying the positivity rate on January 5 from 316 samples was 10.76%. The city’s numbers include data sent in by private hospitals with their own molecular laboratories. The figures from the CLMMRH and the city are all from RT-PCR tests.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia and EOC members held an emergency Zoom meeting to respond to the uptick in new cases.

Ang confirmed on January 1 Rappler’s count of 90 new cases from December 18 to 31, 2021, based on daily tracker reports from the Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas.

“We are closely watching it (rise in cases),” Ang said, describing the rise as “exponential.”

“From daily cases of low single digits – two, two, four, two – then suddenly eight,” Ang said of the case patterns in the latter half of December.

Bacolod announced its first Omicron variant case on January 3, a “recovered” male returning overseas Filipino. The patient was cleared in Manila after a total of 16 days in quarantine and isolation. He tested positive again on December 31 after Bacolod officials took another RT-PCR tests on receipt of his genome sequencing result.

On January 4, Leonardia cancelled face to face classes in a public high school and deferred actions on applications by a college and a university.

Ang said the city government had started rounds of its isolation facilities as it braces for a new surge.

Ang said many residents, including minors, had been lining up for regular and booster shots as the city reopened services on January 3.

Bacolod City has the second highest coverage in Western Visayas, with 388,493 fully vaccinated individuals or 94.59% of its 410,701 target as of yearend.

Dr. Chris Sorongon, the EOC’s deputy for medical data and analysis, said on January 3 that the city was just short of 4% of its adjusted, higher target of 420,000 individuals.

But the highly-developed city is the business and government center of Negros Occidental, which has the lowest percentage of vaccinated individuals in Western Visayas, according to the DOH.

The DOH regional office’s report on December 31 showed Negros Occidental with 752,541 fully vaccinated individuals, just 41.23% of its 1.8-million target population. The target represents 70% of the province’s total population of 2.6 million. 

“We should remain compliant with the minimum health protocols. Getting vaccinated certainly protects us, but we have to be reminded to wear face mask, avoid crowded places, and observe social distancing at all times,” the mayor said after Ang’s new report. –