Negros Oriental battles third wave of COVID-19 | Inquirer News
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Negros Oriental battles third wave of COVID-19

/ 05:02 AM October 28, 2021

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, Philippines — While coronavirus cases have been reported dropping in many parts of the country, Negros Oriental is battling a third wave of infections driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.

“Majority of the samples [we] sent to the Philippine Genome Center turned out as Delta variant,” said Dr. Nikko Paolo Cablao, head of the Negros Oriental Molecular Laboratory.

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Negros Oriental is under alert level 4, the second-highest of the five alert levels set by the national pandemic task force, until Oct. 31 due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

As of Oct. 26, Negros Oriental logged 3,111 active cases of COVID-19, the highest in Central Visayas region, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

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Since the start of the pandemic in March last year, the province had reported 17,515 cases with 13,951 recoveries and 453 deaths.

Bed occupancy

Negros Oriental’s COVID-19 hospital bed occupancy rate is currently at 92 percent. In the capital city of Dumaguete, all hospitals are either full or in critical status. Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital and ACE Dumaguete Doctors topped the list at 113-percent occupancy rate, followed by Holy Child Hospital (95 percent) and Silliman University Medical Center (90 percent).

Dondee Señeris, provincial contact tracing head, expressed dismay over yet another increase in COVID-19 cases in the province.

“Our COVID-19 cases here have gone up again. The pattern has always been up and down,” he said.

Negros Oriental recorded its first surge in COVID-19 cases from November 2020 to January 2021 while the second surge happened from April to June this year, Señeris said.

The third wave, he said, started in September.

The province has fully inoculated at least 164,020 people while 172,428 were waiting for their second dose.

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Negros Oriental targets to inoculate 908,939 residents to achieve herd immunity, which happens when 70 percent or a large part of the population is immune to a specific disease.

Cablao called on Negros Oriental residents to be vigilant and follow health protocols to control the surge.

Travel requirements

Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases, Negros Oriental will no longer require a negative swab test result for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the province starting Nov. 1.

Fully vaccinated individuals, however, are required to bring their vaccination cards, government-issued identification documents and a vaccination certificate from the DOH.

For unvaccinated and those yet to receive their second vaccine dose, a negative antigen test result would be required, according to Bimbo Miraflor, provincial information officer.

Miraflor said travelers must prepare photocopies of these documents that would be submitted to authorities manning Negros Oriental’s entry points.

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