The Department of Health (DOH) has expressed alarm over the spike of Covid-19 cases in Eastern Visayas this week as a result of more relaxed enforcement of health protocols during holiday revelries.
In a press briefing Wednesday, Marc Steven Capungcol, head of the DOH regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, said they still have to find out if the surge of new cases is also caused by variants of concern.
The region sent 86 samples for sequencing to the Philippine Genome Center to detect the presence of variants of concern.
Results will be out this weekend or next week.
“We were surprised by the sudden surge of cases in the region. This happens because of the faster mobility of people during the holiday season. We also witnessed super spreader events last December,” Capungcol said.
On Wednesday, the DOH reported 318 new Covid-19 cases, doubling the 159 new cases found the day before.
On January 10, laboratories detected 66 new cases while there were 130 new cases confirmed through testing on January 9.
It was on January 8 that the region first recorded over 100 cases after more than two months of case drop.
“Even though the cases really are increasing, what we see is that patients are either asymptomatic, mild or have moderate symptoms. This is due to intensified vaccination drive,” Capungcol added.
Of the 962 active Covid-19 cases in Eastern Visayas, 722 of them or 75 percent are unvaccinated. The remaining have received protection against Covid-19 and most of them are asymptomatic.
“Since we have enough supply of vaccines, we urge everyone to get vaccinated. We are pushing for herd immunity to protect us from Covid-19 and its variants of concern,” he told reporters.
Of the 3.36 million target population for inoculation, 2.42 million residents have been administered with Covid-19 vaccines.
Of the number, 72 percent of them got the first dose while 58.9 percent received complete doses.
There are still 942,014 unvaccinated individuals in the region as of January 12, according to DOH.
Since the pandemic broke out in 2020, the health department here has already recorded 52,443 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 50,850 recoveries and 631 deaths.
Source: Philippines News Agency