COVID, acute gastroenteritis beset city’s health sector

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) were the main health concerns of Iloilo City even as it loosened restrictions at the height of the pandemic, according to the City Health Office’s (CHO) report on Wednesday.

CHO data indicated that the city logged 14,031 COVID cases in 2022, including 95 percent (13,312) local cases.

The remaining 3 percent (430) were locally stranded individuals, and 1 percent each for Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (159) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (130).

The cases peaked in the last weeks of December 2021 until the first weeks of February 2022, with no further drastic rises recorded since then.

To recall, the city was placed under COVID Alert Level 3 in January 2022, amid fears of escalation to Alert Level 4 as cases continued to rise until the last week of that month.

But the status was lowered to Alert Level 2 in March, and Alert Level 1 shortly thereafter.

Around 98 percent of the local cases in 2022 have recovered while mortality was at 1 percent.

More than half of the locally transmitted cases were asymptomatic at 66.59 percent (8,865), while the remaining 33.01 percent (4,394) were Severe Acute Respiratory Illness, and 0.39 percent (53) were described as Influenza-Like Illness.

COVID cases in the city ranged from 0 to 94 years old, with a median age of 32 years old. The most affected age group were persons between 21 to 30 years old (4,303 local cases).

Jaro was the most COVID-affected district in 2022 (4,340), apart from accounting for 5 of the top 10 barangays with the most cases – Balabago (435), Tabuc Suba (377), Cubay (249), M.V. Hechanova (246), and Sambag (231).

COVID did not spare other districts with Mandurriao (2,439) logging the second-highest number of cases, followed by Molo (1,728), Arevalo (1,459), La Paz (1,401), City Proper (1,173), and Lapuz (772).

The barangays joining the top ten COVID-infected last year include Guzman-Jesena (360), Calumpang (285), Tabuc Suba in La Paz (267), Abeto Mirasol (258), and Oñate de Leon (224).

As to variants monitored by both local and national authorities, the CHO’s data indicated that the city listed 1,122 Omicron cases last year and 2 Delta cases.

Specifically, included in the city’s COVID variant log were 548 cases of BA.5.2, followed by Unknown variants (220), XBB (194), B.1.1.529 (59), BA.5 (32), BA.5.2.1 (16), BA.2.12.1 (8), BA.2.3.20 and BA.5.1 (6 each), XBC (5), BF.3 and BF.5 (4 each), XBB.1 and other variants (3 each), BA.4.1, BA.5.10, and BA.5.6 (2 each), and BA.2.75, BA.5.3, BN.1.3, BQ.1.1, BQ.1.12, CM.3, CM.8.1, and XBC.1 (1 each).


As to Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE), the city logged 1,347 cases since it surged between late August (225) and the whole of September (517) last year.

The data indicated that 1,331 persons recovered and 16 died.

While September saw the highest number of cases, infections continued into October (216), November (187), and December (135).

Arevalo (277) logged the most AGE cases out of all districts last year, followed by City Proper (247), Jaro (232), Molo (212), La Paz (141), Lapuz (123), and Mandurriao (114).

Out of these cases, 298 rectal swab specimens and 45 water samples were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City.

Rectal swab tests showed 57 positive aeromonas cases, 51 positive cholera cases, and 1 case each positive for shigella, rotavirus, and astrovirus.

The water samples, meanwhile, yielded 31 positive for aeromonas, 12 positive for cholera, and 2 without enteropathogens.

The city also added 1,092 new dengue cases in 2022, a 221.2 percent change from the 2021 tally (340), with 2 deaths.

Other disease-related deaths recorded by the CHO include Rabies (1), Influenza-Like Illnesses (1), Leptospirosis (2), and Non-neonatal Tetanus (1).

Also in the city’s notifiable diseases log last year include:

–          Acute Encephalitis (6);

–          Acute Flaccid Paralysis (1);

–          Adverse Event Following Immunization (4);

–          Bacterial Meningitis (40);

–          Chikungunya (1);

–          Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (58);

–          Influenza-Like Illness (215);

–          Leptospirosis (13);

–          Measles/Rubella (16);

–          Non-neonatal Tetanus (3);

–          Pertussis (2);

–          Rabies (1); and

–          Typhoid and Paratyphoid (16).