COVID-19 variant claims four lives in Iloilo; public urged to be careful

(Arnold Almacen/file photo)

By Mariela Angella Oladive

The Iloilo Province Health Office (IPHO) urged the public for heightened vigilance after recording over 80 cases of JN.1 CoVID-19 variant strain from November 2023 to January this year, with four fatalities.

IPHO head Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon said in an interview that all four individuals who succumbed to the variant were immunocompromised, with the oldest victim being 87 years old and the youngest less than a year old. The other two adults had underlying health issues.

With Dinagyang being just around the corner, the PHO expressed concern about the apparent decline in mask usage, particularly among high-risk groups like children and the elderly.

Dr. Quiñon reiterated the importance of following health protocols like wearing face masks, regular handwashing, use of alcohol-based sanitizers, and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The JN.1 variant has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of interest.” Common symptoms associated with this variant include fatigue, congestion, runny nose, cough, headache, muscle aches, and fever or chills.

“I consider gid dapat naton nga COVID is still here,” remarked Dr. Quiñon during a recent statement, emphasizing the need for continuous awareness and health observation, also encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

Dr. Quiñon further informed the public about the availability of free flu vaccines at Rural Health Units (RHUs) while they have adequate vaccines for pneumonia.

Residents are urged to visit their nearest RHU or health facility to receive protection against the flu.

The health official stressed the importance of vaccination as a key component in the fight against COVID-19 and its variants. The vaccines not only contribute to individual protection but also play a vital role in achieving herd immunity.