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Delta variant found in 7 of 10 COVID-19 cases

HERO OF THE TIMES A medical worker attends to a patient outside the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City on Sunday, performing a heroic job in these difficult times. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — Seven out of 10 of the latest COVID-19 cases were found to be of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Sunday.

The DOH further disclosed that 90 percent of COVID-19 random samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) were found to be of the three highly contagious variants, including the Alpha and Beta variants.

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The department said Alpha and Beta cases remained the highest in the country, but also noted “a continuous and increasing detection of the Delta variant in the communities.”

Delta cases were spread across 13 of the country’s 17 regions, including Metro Manila.

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Random samples

Out of the 748 random samples analyzed on Friday, 516, or 69 percent, were Delta cases— with the vast majority, or 473, found to be local cases.

Of these, 114 cases had addresses in the capital region. The rest were in the Ilocos (24), Cagayan Valley (32), the Cordillera Administrative Region (6), Central Luzon (64), Calabarzon (79), Mimaropa (20), Bicol (16), Western Visayas (13), Central Visayas (23), Zamboanga Peninsula (12), Northern Mindanao (48) and Davao (22). Five of the Delta cases have died, six remained infected and the rest have recovered.

The PGC also found 81 Beta cases, or 11 percent, of the total samples analyzed, and 73 Alpha cases, or 10 percent. The vast majority of these cases are local. Three Beta cases have died and the rest have recovered. All Alpha cases have recovered.

Furthermore, the PGC found 41 cases of the P.3 variant first detected in the Philippines but not yet considered a variant of concern.

Calabarzon hospitals full

Last week, the DOH acknowledged the community transmission of the Delta variant in Metro Manila and the Calabarzon region, which is beginning to feel the impact of the rise of COVID-19 cases in the metropolis and elsewhere around the region.

Several hospitals in the Region 4A provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon said they could no longer take in COVID-19 patients.

Among them were QualiMed Hospital and Laguna Holy Family Hospital Inc. in Laguna, and Mount Carmel Diocesan General Hospital and Lucena United Doctors Hospital and Medical Center (LUDHMC) in Quezon.

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“COVID units are at full capacity and the neonatal intensive care unit is beyond capacity,” LUDHMC said.

In a phone interview on Sunday, Dr. Eduardo Janairo, director of the DOH Region 4A, said the number of patients from outside Calabarzon began climbing mid-August.

Most of them were admitted to the region’s major public facilities such as Southern Tagalog Regional Hospital in Bacoor City, Cavite; Dr. JP Rizal District Hospital in Calamba City and Cabuyao City Hospital in Laguna; and Batangas Medical Center in Batangas City. Janairo, however, noted that patients from outside were not only from Metro Manila.

“In Quezon, their hospitals are running full because of patients from Marinduque, while in Batangas, they are also taking in patients from Mindoro, Romblon,” he said.

‘Longest surge’

Janairo said the region recently opened three temporary treatment management facilities in Batangas where mild and moderate COVID-19 cases would be transferred as hospitals aimed to free up their beds for severe cases.

“Right now, we could still manage. But our problem is the human resources,” he said, adding that the situation was a repeat of the previous surge in April.

In a separate interview, Dr. Rontgene Solante, secretary of the Philippine College of Physicians, said: “This is the longest surge we’ve experienced. I don’t know if a ‘time out’ will still work. We did an ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and the numbers were high. Then we went into MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) and the numbers are still up.”

The DOH Region 4A has requested P38 million to hire and pay additional workers until December.

According to Janairo, the hospitals each needed about six to nine more staff members.

“I hope there would be applicants,” he said.

Highest positivity rate

The DOH logged 18,528 new cases on Sunday, now the second highest number of daily reported cases as the COVID-19 caseload continues to pile up.

This brought the total to 1,954,023, with 143,221 active cases — of which 95.3 percent are mild; 2 percent, asymptomatic; 1 percent, moderate; 1.1 percent, severe; and 0.6 percent, critical.

There were 17,922 new recoveries on Sunday, bringing the total to 1,777,693.

On the other hand, 101 more deaths, including 38 patients who were previously tagged as recovered, brought the total fatalities to 33,109.

The country also saw the highest reported positivity rate at 27.9 percent, with 18,477 of 66,225 persons tested on Aug. 27 confirmed infected.

Seven laboratories were not able to submit their data.

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TAGS: COVID-19 Delta variant, DoH
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