22 Omicron cases in CV; Hospitals of DOH in Cebu at high risk level

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THE Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas confirmed Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, that there are 22 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the region.

DOH 7 Chief Pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said 16 of the samples that tested positive for the variant came from overseas Filipino workers, one from a returning overseas Filipino, and five from the local community.

They received the results from the Philippine Genome Center in Manila on Monday, Jan. 17, Loreche said during her press briefer at the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center.

However, the department cannot yet announce the specific locations of the individuals who tested positive for the highly transmissible variant since they need to inform first their respective local government units, said Loreche.

Of the 78 samples sent by DOH 7, only 22 samples were confirmed to be positive for the variant. The samples were taken during the period of Dec. 27, 2021 to Jan. 6, 2022.

Loreche added that even before the official detection of the variant, the increasing number of infected individuals signified that Omicron was already in Cebu.

According to Loreche, those infected with the Omicron variant may feel the following symptoms: sore throat, fever, dry cough, body pain, sneezing, runny nose, fatigue and night sweats.

Since the variant mostly affects the upper respiratory system, Loreche recommended drinking plenty of liquid and gargling with warm water and salt as a possible home remedy for those feeling the symptoms.

The chief pathologist also encouraged those mild or asymptomatic individuals who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to go on home quarantine and use teleconsultation to avoid congestion in the hospitals.

“I really hope that we help each other. Let us not congest our hospitals, causing a collapse of our healthcare facilities,” said Loreche.

Capacity utilization

As of Jan. 16, 2022, the capacity utilization rate of private hospitals in Cebu was 35.9 percent as 231 Covid-19 dedicated beds were occupied out of the 644 allocated beds.

In the DOH retained or sentinel hospitals, however, the capacity utilization rate was already at the high risk level.

Of the 453 beds allocated, 325 beds or 71.7 percent were already occupied by Covid-19 patients.

In a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 18, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia advised the public not to panic with the detection of the Omicron variant.

Though it is more infectious, the variant brings milder symptoms, said Garcia.

“I would advise you, for your mild symptoms, to stay at home. Do not panic. Do not look at the numbers. That’s what causes the panic,” said Garcia.

Garcia added that all hospitals in the province have enough stocks of Molnupiravir, paracetamol, and Vitamin C.

Molnupiravir is an antiviral medication used in the treatment of Covid-19.

671 new cases

In Cebu City, daily Covid-19 cases have continued hitting record highs, with the city recording an average of 40.42 percent daily positivity rate in the past three days.

This after the City Emergency Operations Center logged a total of 1,713 cases on Jan. 15, 16 and 17.

On Jan. 17, Cebu City recorded 671 new cases, bringing active cases to 3,211.

The daily positivity rate Monday soared to 43.35 percent of the 1,548 samples tested. The daily positivity rate was just 0.61 last Jan. 1.

The World Health Organization has set a threshold for positivity rate at five percent. Having a positivity rate of less than five percent for the last two weeks is one of the indicators that the epidemic is controlled.

Positivity rate or percent positive is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that come out positive. The positivity rate will be high if the number of positive tests is too high, or if the number of total tests is too low.

A higher percent positive suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet, according to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Public Health.

Also, as of Jan. 17, only nine of 80 barangays in Cebu City had no active cases in the past 10 days.

Of the 71 barangays with active cases, Guadalupe had the most number with 293.

The barangay was followed by Barangays Lahug (177), Apas (163), Capitol Site (120), Tisa (114), Mabolo (109), Labangon (101), Camputhaw (100), Talamban (99) and Bulacao (85). (IRT, PAC / KAL)

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