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More Local governments keep guard up vs Delta

/ 05:02 AM July 31, 2021

LONGER QUARANTINE The 19 crew members of MV Tug Clyde and Barge Claudia, two with the COVID-19 Delta variant, have to stay quarantined until Aug. 22. —MARK ALVIC ESPLANA

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—More local government units across the country scrambled to tighten health protocols amid the threat of the Delta variant, which has also been reported in Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao, in Bulacan and Pampanga provinces in Central Luzon, and in Ilocos Norte.

In this city, the Delta variant infected eight people, seven of whom were from the same family, authorities said.

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Although certified to have recovered, the eight persons are back in an isolation facility dedicated for those infected with the Delta variant. Mayor Oscar Moreno feared the coronavirus variant may have already spread locally.

The city health office said the family got the virus from a 32-year-old female member who celebrated her birthday at home on June 29 and reported to health authorities about indications of a COVID-19 infection.

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The rise in Delta variant cases came as infections spiked again in the city despite stringent quarantine since June 1, which was under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until July 15 and enhanced community quarantine from July 16 to Aug. 7.

Due to this trend, Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the region’s main COVID-19 referral facility, has dedicated 210 of its 300 beds for virus patients, of which 140 are for critical care. NMMC attends to 192 virus patients as of Thursday, majority of whom are from the city.

As of July 29, the city has 1,657 active cases.

Community still safe

In Legazpi City, the Department of Health (DOH) recommended a longer quarantine for the crew of MV Tug Clyde and Barge Claudia after two of 11 virus-stricken members were found to be positive for the Delta variant.

Dr. Ferchito Avelino, DOH Bicol assistant regional director, said on Friday that the 19 crew members onboard the vessels, including those who were negative for COVID-19, must now be presumed to be all Delta variant carriers and must stay on quarantine for another 20 days.

Avelino assured there is no Delta variant case in Bicol and the community would remain safe from the highly contagious strain for “as long as they (crew members) are kept inside the vessel and don’t go offshore or jump ship.”

Second isolation

The vessels, which came from Indonesia carrying coal, dropped anchor over a kilometer off the coast of Albay on July 20. Its crew, all from Camarines Sur province, were supposed to end their quarantine on Aug. 2.

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In Bulacan, Gov. Daniel Fernando said an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Sta. Maria town who returned from Saudi Arabia on June 29 was the second COVID-19 Delta variant case in the province.

Dr. Hjordis Marushka Celis, Bulacan COVID-19 provincial task force vice chair, said the OFW has already undergone the first quarantine period in Metro Manila and was now on second period of isolation.

Bulacan would revert to general community quarantine with heightened restrictions from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15.

In Ilocos Norte, the province would be placed on MECQ from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15 after the national pandemic task force approved the request of Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc.

On July 29, the DOH confirmed the presence of the highly contagious Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants in the Ilocos region, including five cases of the Delta strain in Ilocos Norte. One of the five confirmed Delta cases from San Nicolas town had died, the DOH said on Friday. Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Batac City also announced on Thursday that at least 63 of its health workers were infected with COVID-19.

In Pampanga, Gov. Dennis Pineda imposed more controls even if the province is under modified general community quarantine to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, which totaled four cases in the province.

Pineda’s Executive Order No. 17, to be effective from Aug. 2 to Aug. 15, prohibited the entry of residents from the National Capital Region unless they show negative swab or antigen test results done 48 hours before entry to Pampanga. —REPORTS FROM RYAN D. ROSAURO, TONETTE OREJAS, JOHN MICHAEL MUGAS, MAR S. ARGUELLES AND CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE

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