COVID-19

Omicron detected in Baguio as city tallies record-high cases

Sherwin de Vera
Omicron detected in Baguio as city tallies record-high cases

HIGH DEMAND. A Baguio City drugstore runs out of medicines for flu and colds on January 6 as new COVID-19 cases rise.

Mau Victa

The Philippine summer capital also has 246 children under the age of 12 infected with COVID-19, prompting new mobility restrictions

VIGAN CITY, Philippines – The COVID-19 Omicron variant is now in the country’s summer capital, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Wednesday, January 19.

Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong issued tighter restrictions for minors on Wednesday, January 19 as the city health office warned of rising numbers of infected children.

The city shared a DOH Cordillera report saying that both Omicron patients detected in the city had no travel history two weeks prior to their tests.

The first case was asymptomatic but tested positive on December 15, 2021 as a close contact of a patient who also had no travel history. 

The second Omicron case underwent testing on December 22 after experiencing symptoms. 

Their genome sequencing results came out on January 15.

Baguio recorded its highest daily infection rate on January 18, with 646 new cases, more than a hundred above Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s January 11 forecast of 400 to 500 daily cases.

The city started tallying a record-high number of cases on January 13 at 516. Prior to this, the record-high was 411 on September 18, 2021.

Children at risk

As of January 19, the city has 4,607 active cases, with a 56% positivity rate.

Magalong tightened restrictions for children after the local health office said 246 minors below the age of 12 got infected with COVID-19.

Executive Order No. 12-2022, released on January 19, prohibits unvaccinated individuals aged 17 and below from leaving their homes from January 21 to 31. Exceptions for the rule include necessary appointments that require physical presence and recreational or wellness activities outdoors within their neighborhoods.

Despite the surge, Magalong sees 2022 as a “banner year” for the city’s recovery. 

“This year, we expect a rebound in our economy, and at the same time we have a lot of strategic projects that will be taking off. This will be a banner year for our recovery,” the mayor said. – Rappler.com

Sherwin de Vera is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.