COVID-19

General Santos logs its first 2 known Omicron cases

Rommel Rebollido
General Santos logs its first 2 known Omicron cases

POSTERITY. A woman takes a selfie as she gets vaccinated against COVID-19 in Lagao, General Santos City.

Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

From single-day cases of 32 on January 11, the number goes up to 161 in a day on January 28

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The city government on Saturday, January 29, announced the detection of the first two documented cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant infections in General Santos City.

The City Public Information Office (CPIO) said the specimens sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) showed those infected were a 26-year-old pregnant woman and a 62-year-old male.

Since the two have no histories of travel, health authorities said the Omicron cases were most likely due to local transmissions.

Dr. Ryan Aplicador, chief of the city government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Memorial Hospital, said the detection strengthened suspicions that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the city was due to the more transmissible variant.

“I think what’s spreading in the city now is Omicron,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) logged a total of 1,562 newly detected COVID-19 infections in the city in the last two weeks as of Saturday. From single-day cases of 32 on January 11, the number increased to 161 in a day on Friday, January 28.

Officials said the COVID-19 Omicron-infected female was admitted to a private hospital on January 2, and stayed there for three days.

She was found to have had close contact with four people, including one who also tested positive for COVID-19.

The second person with Omicron tested positive for COVID-19 when he went to a private hospital because he was coughing. He subsequently went on home quarantine.

Four of seven people he had close contact with tested positive for COVID-19.

By the time the two were confirmed to have contracted the variant, they and their contacts were already certified recovered by doctors, officials said.

Dr. Aplicador said that while the number of COVID-19 cases was increasing in the city, most of the infected only showed mild symptoms and their conditions did not require hospital confinement.

Dr. Rochelle Oco, General Santos City health officer, said the local vaccination rollout would continue to increase the fighting chances of more people in the city against COVID-19.

“Data prove how effective the vaccines are,” she said.

Oco pointed out that while the virus was infecting people in the city at a faster rate now, the local hospital occupancy rate remained low unlike in 2021 when cases overwhelmed health systems.

DOH data showed that 358,173 or 76.87% of the city’s 465,938 residents eligible for vaccination were already inoculated as of January 27. –Rappler.com

Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship

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