DAVAO CITY – Four new COVID-19 Delta variant cases were detected from samples sent by Davao Region last month to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center, adding the total number of Delta cases in this region to 13.
The cases include a returning overseas worker while the rest are presumed to have come from local transmission.
As the tests were taken a month ago, twelve of these patients have recovered and only one remains under treatment in Davao de Oro, said Dr. Raquel Montejo, chief of the Department of Health Davao Local Health Support Division.
The Delta variant is known to be more transmissible than the common cold and influenza, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was first detected in India in late 2020.
Of the 13 confirmed cases, six are from Davao City; three from Davao del Norte (two in Tagum and one from Carmen); two from Mati City, Davao Oriental and one each from Nabunturan, Davao de Oro and Sta.Cruz, Davao del Sur.
The Delta cases in Tagum include a 38 year old female currently in isolation. Tagum City Health Officer Dr.Arnel Florendo said that they are suspecting the Delta variant came from community transmission since the patients have no known travel history.
“Considering that they are from the same workplace.That is the possibility that we are looking into.The first delta case was tagged as community transmission. The problem we have in Tagum City is we do not (know) the source of infection,” he said.
He mentioned that the city has activated its Delta protocol by conducting preemptive contact tracing up to the F4.
The two Delta cases from Davao Oriental include a 32 year old female and a 33 year old male who tested positive on July 10. Davao Oriental Provincial Health Officer Dr. Reden Bersaldo said these Delta cases belonged to one family. They are due for a repeat RT-PCR test after having completed the prescribed isolation period.
Bersaldo said that they are now preparing for the worst case to come by establishing an oxygen generating plant, converting the whole third floor wing of the provincial medical center for COVID-19 cases, and forming satellite isolation facilities like schools and hotels for mild cases.
In Davao de Oro, its lone Delta case is a 41 year old male, a returning overseas filipino (ROF) from Cairo, Egypt residing in Nabunturan. The patient arrived in Manila on July 18 and tested positive on July 24 and went into isolation in a facility until August 8. He has undergone strict home quarantine and is scheduled for repeat RT-PCR test on August 17.
Davao de Oro Provincial Health Officer Dr.Antonio Ybiernas Jr. said that Delta cases will be separated from the usual COVID-19 cases under a different treatment facility.
Out of the 2,506 specimens submitted for genome sequencing from the region, 396 were identified as variants of concern cases.
As the public worries over the exact number of Delta cases, this is compounded with delays with UP as the only genome testing center with units in Visayas and Mindanao.
“The problem with our genome sequencing is the delayed results because specimens are still being brought to Manila. It took more than a month for the result to come out and these patients have already recovered,” Dr. Bersaldo noted.
Despite the high cases of COVID-19, Davao region has been placed under general community quarantine with restrictions.