SAMAR, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) Region 8 on Thursday, January 27, reported 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant in Eastern Visayas.
DOH chief regional epidemiologist Marc Steven Capungcol said that 27 of 90 samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) were positive for the highly transmissible variant.
The samples covered swab tests from the last week of December 2021 to the first week of January 2022.
Another Omicron-positive sample collected from a lab in the National Capital Region was tagged to Eastern Visayas.
“It was only tagged here to us because [the person’s] address is Eastern Samar,” Capungcol said in a mix of English and Filipino.
A breakdown of the 28 Omicron cases in the region shows the following:
- Tacloban City: 8 cases;
- Ormoc City: 3;
- Leyte: Tunga town, 2;
- Southern Leyte: Macrohon town, 1;
- Samar: Catbalogan City, 7; San Jorge town, 2; Zumarraga town, 1; Gandara town, 1, and Hinabangan town, 1;
- Eastern Samar: Borongan City, 1; and Guiuan town, 1.
Capungcol said 27 of those who tested positive for Omicron have already recovered. The lone death recorded from these Omicron cases was an unvaccinated 84-year-old female from Samar, who was hospitalized as a severe case.
Local health officials earlier suspected the possibility of Omicron behind the spike of COVID-19 cases in the region, which logged its highest single-day count of 879 new cases on January 20.
Capungcol pointed out that vaccinated persons who tested positive for Omicron were mostly asymptomatic or showed only mild symptoms.
He said the PGC also detected two additional Delta cases.
Capungcol said that a total of 220 cases of variants of concern have been recorded in the region, with the Delta variant representing 55% of the cases and Omicron 13%.
“But nationwide, we can see that, as per the report of the Epidemiology Bureau, the Omicron is becoming more dominant,” he said in a mix of English and Waray.
According to DOH regional epidemiology and surveillance unit manager Boyd Roderick Cerro, Eastern Visayas has a “high” average daily attack rate (ADAR) of COVID-19 for the past two weeks, with 12 cases every 100,000 individuals.
Cerro said that Tacloban City’s ADAR is at 26, followed by Leyte province, 15, Ormoc City, 11; Eastern Samar and Samar both at 10; Northern Samar, six; amd Biliran and Southern Leyte both at 4.
The DOH Region 8 logged 386 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, January 27, bringing the total active cases to 3,363 (5.64%).
Meanwhile, the DOH regional office turned over to Biliran province a Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) on Wednesday, January 26.
The TTMF will be operational with a 15-bed capacity to cater to possible, suspect, probable, and confirmed COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. – Rappler.com
Brynch Bonachita is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.