By Francis Allan L. Angelo
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas ordered the lockdown of the Department of Health (DOH) regional office in Mandurriao district after the detection of two Delta variant cases of COVID-19.
The mayor said the lockdown will pave the way for the swabbing and contact tracing of the employees.
But in a statement issued Tuesday, DOH-6 said the two employees of the DOH Western Visayas Center for Health Development (WV CHD) who tested positive for Delta variant have already been tagged as recovered as of August 21.
They last physically reported for work on July 22 and July 26, 2021. The two patients have not yet returned to work as to date. Both are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Employee 1 last physically reported for work on July 22. Onset of symptoms was reported on July 26. All identified close contacts within their household were swabbed and quarantined. Employee 2 last physically reported for work on July 26 and manifested signs and symptoms on July 27. All three close contacts identified in the regional office were immediately quarantined and swabbed. All three turned out negative,” the statement added.
Both employees had their repeat PCR test last August 10 and the result was negative. Both have also completed the required 14-day quarantine.
“In compliance to the health protocol of the Iloilo City Heath Office, both will be subjected to a second repeat PCR test. The DOH WV CHD assures the public that strict adherence to the COVID-19 response in the workplace is continuously observed. The CHD has conducted contact tracing of closed contacts of COVID-19 confirmed cases. Immediate isolation of confirmed cases and RT PCR testing, and quarantine of close contacts were also implemented. The CHD also adopts alternative work arrangements to ensure compliance to the number of personnel physically reporting for work based on quarantine classification. All personnel are also required to submit health declaration upon entry to the regional office and undergo thermal scanning and observance of the minimum public health standards. Regular disinfection is conducted and granular lockdowns are enforced in affected work units/offices,” DOH-6 said.
Meanwhile, DOH-6 also issued a clarification on the implementation of necessary response for cases positive of Delta variant.
Citing the latest recommendations of the members of the Inter-agency Task Force on COVID-19 variants and in line with the Department Memorandum 2021-0128 or the Interim Guidelines on Routine Bio-surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and Management of Cases with Identified Variants of Concern, “cases positive for the Delta (8.1.617.2) variant should have a negative PCR on or after the end of their isolation before they can be tagged as recovered.”
“This is regardless if they have completed the 10-day isolation period. Patients who 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. Any case whose repeat PCR was positive shall remain in isolation. If repeat PCR was negative and the case remained asymptomatic, the patient can be released from isolation/ quarantine.”
Identified first generation close contacts shall undergo 14-day facility-based quarantine and must be tested using PCR prior to discharge, with day one of the quarantine being the date of last exposure.
Samples that will test positive on PCR and fit the criteria for sequencing shall be sent to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) for genome sequencing. The positive case shall then be isolated. If PCR is negative and the patient remained asymptomatic, he/she can be tagged as recovered and be discharged.
Second and third generation contacts shall be placed in strict home quarantine and can only be released once the first-generation contacts have completed the 14-day quarantine and tested negative on PCR upon discharge.
If their first-generation contacts returned with positive PCR, these contacts shall also be required to undergo a repeat PCR test at the end of the 14-day facility quarantine completion and shall only be discharged if PCR test was negative and the patient remained asymptomatic.
The DOH recommends separate facilities for positive Delta cases and for their close contacts.