Authorities in Davao City on Wednesday, January 19, confirmed that 22 workers in their vaccination and swabbing centers tested positive for the virus, raising fears it was caused by the more transmissible Omicron variant detected by the Department of Health (DOH) in the Davao region.
Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesperson of the local COVID-19 inter-agency task force, told the Davao City Disaster Radio that all the infected public health frontline workers and their identified close contacts have been quarantined.
The infected workers were assigned to the vaccination and swabbing sites at the People’s Park and Crocodile Park. They were immediately replaced by new teams with uninfected members.
No vaccination and swabbing site has been closed. Schlosser said these areas were disinfected. It was unclear exactly how many people the infected health workers had contact with while serving in the vaccination and swabbing sites.
She said people should not be afraid to visit the two sites, assuring them that the places were safe. “Only the vaccines and the continuing practice of the minimum public health standards are the tested shield against the virulent disease,” she said.
“The public deserves to know that these two areas have health care personnel infected. Because we already assume that Omicron is causing this spike, we anticipated the worst and prepared for it. We immediately dispatched the replacement to the two parks. Time is of the essence here so that the virus wouldn’t reach your homes,” Schlosser added.
The disclosure came even as the DOH announced that two of the 492 cases of COVID-19 Omicron infections in the country were detected in the Davao region. The DOH also confirmed two Omicron cases in the Soccksargen region and one in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Schlosser pleaded to the unvaccinated to get inoculated, and for the 1.2 million vaccinated people in Davao City to get their booster shots. As of January 17, 128,806 people have received their booster shots in Davao City.
“We cannot stop the vaccination rollout…to really give COVID-19 a good fight,” Schlosser said.
The DOH logged 3,729 active cases throughout the region as of January 18, higher compared to January 17’s 3,279 cases. It also recorded three new deaths, one of which was in Davao City.
The city recorded 354 new cases on January 18, from 274 on January 17. – Rappler.com
Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and awardee of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship