Health authorities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) have not recorded any case of local transmission so far of the new variants of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), even as cases reached 21 as of Tuesday.
Dr. Aristides Concepcion Tan, Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 director, said they have sustained their intensified biosurveillance for the disease since the initial infections from the mutant strains in the region were confirmed last April.
He said majority of the cases involved returning overseas Filipino workers and travelers, with the patients considered to have recovered before arriving in their respective localities.
Last month, DOH-12 reported a total of 19 cases of Covid-19 variants in the region, including a patient from this city who recovered from the Indian or Delta variant.
Two more cases were added to the list this month involving the United Kingdom or Alpha strains, which comprised most of the recorded cases in the region.
“As of now we’re still considered free from (variant transmission), especially for the Delta (strain),” Tan said in a phone interview.
As such, he urged residents to be more cautious and vigilant, and practice self-protection measures due to the threats posed by the spread of the more contagious and potentially deadly disease.
The official cited the strict compliance to non-pharmaceutical interventions or minimum health protocols such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, observance of personal hygiene, and safe physical distancing.
Residents, especially those with comorbidities, should protect themselves at all times and stay home as much as possible.
Tan said they will continue with their aggressive monitoring in various localities in coordination with the rural health units and local hospitals.
He said flagged cases based on the biosurveillance criteria are sent to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center for sequencing.
“We’re also tracing and isolating all close contacts of concerned patients while waiting for the genome sequencing results as part of the protocol,” he said.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, the active Covid-19 cases in the region continued to “plateau” and was down to 2,585 after breaching the 3,000-mark a month ago.
The confirmed infections in the area since March last year reached a total of 25,172, with 800 related deaths and 21,783 recoveries. (PNA)