COVID surge in city to continue until February

Medical technologists at work in the RNA extraction section of the Iloilo City Molecular Laboratory in Molo district. (CMO photo)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The current surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Iloilo City will continue until February 2022, according to a top health official.

COVID-19 Focal Person Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna said in a virtual press briefing on Monday that the city has logged 1,273 new cases in the last 14-day period (Jan. 3 to 16), based on data from the Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD).

Unlike in National Capital Region and its neighboring provinces, new cases in Iloilo City only started to go up recently, according to Fortuna.

While the trend in new cases is seen to plateau or peak in the capital region soon, he said that the same is not the case in Iloilo City. Expect the number of new cases to go up in February with the city government’s current testing drive.

The city recorded its highest log of new COVID cases last Friday, Jan 14, at 295.

“We’re expecting [the number of new COVID cases] to steadily increase up to maybe February. Currently, our cases have only started to rise. The national positivity rate is seen to not be increasing, but hopefully we also reach that at some point,” Fortuna said.

City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU) data as of January 17 indicated that the city recorded a total of 1,489 new COVID-19 cases from Jan. 1 to 16 alone.

These include 929 identified local transmissions, 560 index cases, 126 returning residents, 25 Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF), and 50 Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR).

The current number is 3,445.24 percent higher than the total number of cases logged in the same period of December 2021 (42), and 1,110.57% higher than in the same period in January 2021 (125).

January’s running figure has also exceeded the whole-month total of October 2021 (1,138), and is already close to the total in May 2021 (1,684), when the first COVID surge of that year was recorded.

City Health Office chief Dr. Annabel Tang said that they continue their testing and contact tracing efforts, as well as their public information and education and vaccination drives.


In the same briefing, the city government also defended the validity of the proposed ordinance which would limit the mobility of unvaccinated persons.

COVID Team spokesperson Jeck Conlu reiterated that the proposed ordinance follows the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Resolution No. 22-01 and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) Resolution No. 148-B series of 2021.

Atty. Fydah Sabando of the City Mayor’s Office also clarified that the ordinance would not mandate unvaccinated persons to get their jabs, but merely to limit their movement to protect themselves and others from greater risk of catching COVID.

She added that the constitutionality and validity of the ordinance “would best be left to the discretion of the courts”.

“The [proposed] ordinance does not mandate [COVID] vaccination. That is a wrong premise floated by public opinion. The fact is, it’s not mandating vaccination. We recognize that submitting one’s self for vaccination should be consented. It’s just that this ordinance would regulate mobility of unvaccinated persons to their protection if we are under Alert Level 3 or higher. We don’t want our healthcare services to be overwhelmed,” Sabando said.

“As to the constitutionality, as long as the ordinance is within the parameters of the legislative acts of our local council, if there are questions, there are proper forums in our courts to seek redress,” she added.

CESU data on COVID cases this January also indicated that 712 cases are fully vaccinated, 377 are unvaccinated, 54 are partially vaccinated, and 145 have had booster shots.