2 patients in Cordova among Delta deaths

TWO patients in Cordova, Cebu were among the eight deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) caused by the Delta variant.

The others were one each from San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte; Balanga, Bataan; Pandan, Antique; and Pandacan, Manila. Two other mortalities were returning overseas Filipinos (ROF).

Five were male, 27 to 78 years old, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday, July 30, 2021.

She said three of the mortalities were not vaccinated. They were still getting details about the five other mortalities.

The two patients in Cordova were among the 32 Delta variant cases detected in Cebu, all locally transmitted.

Of the 32, 14 are male and 18 are female, according to DOH 7 chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche.

She said the youngest is one year old and the oldest is 61 years old. There were some clusters in families.

Loreche said they were still verifying the status of the other cases.

Aside from the two cases in Cordova, DOH 7 said the other Delta cases were in Lapu-Lapu City (19), Cebu City (6), Mandaue City (3) and Samboan (2).

Loreche said all Delta cases in Cebu are local. No ROF, whose coronavirus-positive sample was subjected to whole genome sequencing, was found positive for Delta.

In April 2021, all arriving ROFs at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) were tested upon arrival, quarantined for at most three days and released if the test result was negative for Sars-CoV-2.

For most of May, Cebu complied with the national arrival protocols of testing all arriving ROFs on the seventh day from arrival but retained its swab-on-arrival and quarantine policies.

The national protocol is for ROFs to stay in facility quarantine for 10 days, swab on seventh day and undergo additional four days of home quarantine despite negative test result.

It was only on June 22, 2021 that implementing agencies in Cebu said they would adhere to the national protocols.

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), acknowledged the possibility that the Delta variant caused the spike in Covid-19 cases.

“(It) could be. I mean, it’s very possible,” he said, adding that they have long presumed local transmission of the highly contagious variant.

He said he does not have information on the whereabouts of the Delta cases. He was aware only that the specimens were sent for genome sequencing in early June.

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes said the three Delta variant cases in the city have

already recovered.

He was confident that transmission has been contained since their patients undergo a rapid antibody test after the 10-day quarantine. Those found positive for IgM, which indicate that they are still fighting off infection, are not released.

He also said their contact tracing teams continue to monitor the patient and household after release.

A total of 216 cases with the Delta variant has been detected in the country, with eight deaths.

This variant, which first emerged in India, is the most infectious among the Sars-CoV-2 variants of concern as it carries mutations that allow it to break into the human immune system, efficiently attach itself to the human host cells and multiply swiftly.

The original strain of Sars-CoV-2 could infect one person while the Alpha variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, can infect four or five people. The Delta variant can infect up to eight other people, even with just a fleeting contact.

The Delta variant has caused near vertical epidemic curves and spikes in hospital admissions in over 90 countries. (SunStar Philippines/WBS,JJL,KFD)