South Cotabato notes rising COVID-19 cases among children
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Health authorities in South Cotabato province appealed for wider participation in the expanded vaccination for minors against COVID-19 as they noted increasing infections among children since last month, three of whom died.
According to Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), they already recorded over 1,300 COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 14 among children aged 10 and below.
He said around 800 of the cases were traced to household transmission or after being exposed to adults who likely contracted the disease in various public places.
“This shows that no age bracket is exempted from COVID-19. Everyone is susceptible to this disease,” he noted.
The pediatric cases comprise about 45 percent of the 2,884 new infections detected from January in the province’s 11 localities.
From just 133 in December, the new COVID-19 cases in the area surged to 2,518 in January then went down to 366 from Feb. 1 to 14.
In January, Aturdido said at least 22 children were confined in various hospitals, manifesting moderate to severe symptoms.
An 8-year-old boy died in Koronadal City last Feb. 3 due to “acute respiratory disease syndrome” triggered by severe COVID-19 infection.
Two more fatalities — a two-year-old boy in Koronadal City and a one-year-old boy in Lake Sebu town — were reported on Feb. 9 due to “high risk pneumonia” related to COVID-19 infection.
Aturdido urged parents to “take care” of their children better and have them vaccinated against the disease.
The IPHO, in coordination with the rural health units, opened at least 21 vaccination sites last Monday in line with the start of the inoculation for children aged 5 to 11.
A total of 146,116 children were targeted for the vaccination drive using the orange-capped Pfizer Cominarty vaccine.
South Cotabato will remain under Alert Level 3 until the end of the month as ordered by the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
All other areas in Region 12 or Soccsksargen were already downgraded to Alert Level II effective Wednesday.
The province has the highest number of active cases in the region at 714 as of Tuesday but the new daily infections have noticeably slowed down in the past several days.
“Our COVID-19 cases are now starting to decline but this is not yet the time to be complacent,” Aturdido said.
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