THE DEPARTMENT of Health-Davao Center for Health Development confirmed the detection of variants of concerns (VOC) in the Davao Region.
Dr. Annabelle Yumang, the director of DOH XI, said a total of 593 samples were sent by the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit to the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center from June 3 to July 1, 2021.
With these 593 samples, there were identified 79 samples with VOC.
The identified two Delta cases were from Davao City and Tagum City. Both were tagged as recovered already but still need to isolate due to pending repeat RT-PCR tests.
To date, a total of 1,893 total samples from the Davao region were already sent to the Philippine Genome Center for whole-genome sequencing.
The concerned LGUs are currently conducting an extensive contact tracing up to third-generation close contacts. The DOH reiterates to all LGUs the need to strengthen the quarantine protocols, testing, and isolation.
According to the latest recommendations of the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 variants, and in line with Department Memorandum No. 2021-0128 (Interim Guidelines on Routine Biosurveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and Management of Cases with Identified Variants of Concern), cases positive for the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant should have a negative PCR on or after the end of their isolation before they can be tagged as recovered, regardless if they have completed the 10-day isolation period.
Cases that have been released from isolation prior to the detection of the Delta variant shall be required to undergo immediate strict home quarantine pending a negative repeat PCR test.
Cases still in isolation shall remain in isolation pending negative repeat PCR test at end of his/her isolation period. Any case whose repeat PCR was positive shall remain in isolation.
If repeat PCR was negative and the case remained asymptomatic, he/she can be released from isolation/quarantine. A separate facility for cases positive for the Delta variant and for their close contacts is recommended.
With this latest information, the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit together with the concerned LGUs are currently conducting intensive surveillance to complete the case profile, backtrace to determine the possible source of infection of non-OFW cases and their exposure and travel histories, current health, laboratory, vaccination, and isolation status, quarantine periods and locations, LGU handover information, and conduct contact tracing activities.
This is to ensure the public that Biosurveillance is in place, and we will continue to expand our capacities to detect all COVID-19 variants of public health importance.
The DOH calls on the local government units to ensure strict monitoring and compliance to quarantine protocols in their respective localities. The DOH also reiterates that non-adherence and incorrect adherence to minimum public health standards (MPHS) are the drivers of transmission and mutation and therefore strongly urges the public to strictly and properly follow the MPHS in all settings.
The DOH underscores that with our 4-door strategy, it had delayed the entry of the Delta variant with the activation of Doors 1 and 2. Now that the country has detected local cases of the Delta variant, Doors 3 and 4 are being activated. Door 3 would involve strengthening the implementation of the PDITR strategies while Door 4 is ensuring that the healthcare capacity is ready for a possible surge.
The DOH also reminded the public that the spread of COVID-19 globally, while being controlled by vaccination, is still being driven by the emergence of variants of concern, increased social mobility, and inappropriate use of public health measures. Even while we are vaccinating the Filipino people, minimum public health measures such as physical distancing and masking should not be neglected.
For added protection against this deadly COVID-19, everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated.
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