Omicron subvariant surge ‘likely’ to occur in CV, say DOH 7 execs

·2 min read

WITH majority of Central Visayas’ areas now opening themselves to both local and international tourists, it is now likely that the new Omicron subvariant B.2.12.1 may have already entered the region, officials of the Department of Health (DOH) said.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas and chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche expressed the same opinion after the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) subvariant was recently detected in Western Visayas, particularly in Iloilo City, as well as in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Puerto Princesa earlier this month.

“Yes, it’s possible because we have opened our borders,” Bernandas told SunStar Cebu on Friday, May 20, 2022.

“The declaration of community transmission in an adjacent province without border controls is the possibility. All others are a consequence,” he added.

But Bernadas added that while the fear of a possible surge is present, the region’s health care facilities and their personnel are ready to respond.

“We have been through so many surges. Our hospitals are better off now compared to before,” Bernadas said.

In a separate interview, Loreche said the source of the Omicron subvariant contamination may have been a foreign national, a returning resident, or an overseas Filipino worker and even domestic travelers.

Though no confirmed case of the new subvariant has been reported in Central Visayas, Loreche urged local government units to prepare themselves for the possibility that another Covid-19 surge could occur.

“For now, we are monitoring our cases to see if there will be pockets of surges,” the chief pathologist added.

Cebu City ready for surge

In Cebu City, a local official agreed with Bernadas that Cebu is better prepared compared to in the previous Covid-19 surges that occurred in the last two years.

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said the city is more than ready after experiencing four surges since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Data from Cebu City’s EOC showed that on Thursday, May 19, the city logged six new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 22.

It also had a daily positivity rate or 0.85 percent out of the 702 individuals tested on May 18.

Vaccination helps

Bernadas urged the public, especially the vulnerable population, to get their full shots against Covid-19 to protect against the new Omicron subvariant.

He said the low incidence of cases may be attributed to the vaccination apart from actual previous exposure of the population that led to some forms of immunity to the virus.

Loreche urged everyone to continue observing the minimum health measures, the most basic of which is the proper way of using the face masks apart from having their booster shots and to have themselves tested should they have symptoms.

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