Experts confirm detecting 18 more UK-variant cases; 3 samples seen with mutations

Maris Federez   •   February 22, 2021   •   344

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) on Sunday confirmed to have detected 18 additional B.1.1.7 or UK variant cases among the 7th batch of 757 samples sequenced by the UP-PGC on February 18.

According to the DOH advisory, the additional number brings the total B.1.1.7 variant cases in the country to 62.

The joint DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH report further said that an additional sample from Region 7 belonging to the last (6th) genome sequencing batch was found to have both N501Y and E484K mutations, while two among the 80 Region 7 samples sequenced in the 7th batch were also found to have both mutations, bringing the total to 34.

Thirteen of the B.1.1.7 cases are Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who entered the country between January 3 to 27 and three are from the Cordillera Administrative Region. The other two are still currently being verified if they are local cases or ROFs.

The health department said the 13 ROF cases are now tagged as recovered. The DOH is currently investigating their compliance to isolation protocols and the contact tracing done for them.

Meanwhile, two of the three cases from CAR, both 12-year-old males, are connected to the original cluster from Samoki, Bontoc, Mountain Province. The third case, a 41-year-old female, is connected to the first La Trinidad cluster.

The DOH said, all the cases are now tagged as recovered and all close contacts have completed quarantine following immediate contact tracing and isolation to swiftly contain transmission among the Bontoc and La Trinidad clusters.

Meanwhile, the Center for Health Development Central Visayas has been notified of the additional cases found with mutations and investigation is now underway to aid in curbing transmission.

Case investigation and contact tracing for these new detections have also been jointly initiated by the DOH through the Bureau of Quarantine, Centers for Health Development, and regional epidemiology and surveillance units (RESU).

The DOH said they are in close coordination with concerned LGUs, local health offices, local epidemiology and surveillance units, and law enforcement authorities regarding this development.

The health department said that they, along with the UP-PGC and UP-NIH, are preparing to submit these new findings to the World Health Organization and the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).

This move is seen to aid in the ongoing global effort to track and study new and emerging genomic changes in the SARS-COV-2 virus, which vaccine manufacturers may use to recalibrate vaccines and ensure efficacy against COVID-19, the DOH said.

The DOH calls on concerned LGUs where cases with the variant of concern and mutations with potential clinical significance have been detected to closely monitor their respective local situations and implement measures in accordance with the national PDITR strategy as needed.

This could be by way of localized lockdowns, active case finding, immediate contact tracing, and isolation/quarantine.

The DOH reiterated to the LGUs the necessity to immediately flag sharp upticks in cases to the DOH in order to activate targeted biosurveillance activities.

The DOH further stressed that “as long as COVID-19 transmission persists, our strengthened biosurveillance will continue to detect mutations.”

“The DOH emphasizes the need to strictly practice and enforce minimum public health standards in order to lower infection rates and consequently reduce the risk of mutations of potential clinical and epidemiological significance. The goal is to bring down transmission rates to levels where biosurveillance can no longer detect mutations of interest,” it concluded. —/mbmf

DOH to send additional healthcare workers to Ilocos Norte amid high COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 22, 2021

The Department of Health (DOH) said it will send additional healthcare workers to Ilocos Norte amid the high number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

“We will address that, we will send neighboring healthcare workers to help as we have done in Cebu, as we have done in Davao, as we have done in many other areas who experienced a surge. We complemented as we have done in National Capital Region (NCR) we got healthcare workers in Mindanao and in the Visayas, facilities to complement the very limited healthcare workers,” according to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Healthcare workers in Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, including the Ilocos Norte Medical Society, are seeking a ‘time out’ due to the surge of cases.

Due to the increased COVID-19 cases, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc on Wednesday (July 21) announced that several areas in the province will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

These areas include the City of Batac and the Municipalities of Bangui, Dingras, Dumalneg, Marcos, Pagudpud, Paoay, Pasuquin, and Solsona.

There will also be an implemented curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. AAC (with reports from Marvin Calas)

Phl logs 2,844 new cases, 2,670 recoveries

Maris Federez   •   July 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday (July 17) reported 2,844 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), pushing the total active cases to 48,480 as of July 16.

This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,496,328.

The active cases are composed of 1,028 (2.1%) asymptomatic, 44,525 (91.8%) mild cases, 896 (1.8%) moderate, 1,274 (2.6%) severe, and 757 (1.6%) critical.

The number of recoveries, meanwhile, has totaled 1,421,372 with the addition of 2,670 who have recuperated from the respiratory disease.

On the other hand, 162 COVID-19 deaths brought the number of fatalities to 26,476.

The health department also recorded that 21,148 health care workers have been found positive for COVID-19. Of these, 20,932 (99.0%) have recovered and 100 (0.5%) have died. Active cases are down to 116 (0.5%).

The utilization of COVID-19 beds, in the meantime, is at 15, 987 (46%) out of 35,077available beds.

Of which, 1,962 (56%) out of 3,489 ICU beds; 5,150 (42%) of 12,144 ward beds; and 8,875 (46%) out of 19,444 were used. —/mbmf

DOH logs 5,676 new cases of COVID-19 in PH

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday (July 16) reported an additional 5,676 new cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Meanwhile, a total of 2,670 new recoveries and 162 new deaths were reported as of 4:00 PM today.

This means the country has had a total of 1,421,372 reported cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Of this number, only 48,480 or 3.2% are active cases; 1,421,372 or 95.0% recovered; and 26,476 or 1.77% succumbed to the disease.

Based on the latest report, from all laboratories that have been operating since July 14, only three have not submitted their data into the COVID-19 Document Repository System (CDRS).

Based on the data collected in the past 14 days, the contributions of these three laboratories comprise more or less 2.4% of all the tested samples and only 0.9% of the overall number of positive individuals.

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