MORE DELTA VARIANT CASES CONFIRMED: WV leaders ‘unite’ for genomic sequencing 

Local chief executives in Western Visayas asked the national government to enable genome sequencing in the region with the confirmation of Delta variant cases of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of PGC-Visayas)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Local chief executives of the provinces and highly urbanized cities in Western Visayas signed a petition to enable genome sequencing in the region, as new cases of the Delta variant (lineage B.1.617.2) of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were confirmed Thursday.

The petition dated July 28, 2021 urged the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to provide necessary equipment, machines, and other devices for the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) in Miag-ao, Iloilo.

“Considering the report of confirmed COVID-19 Delta variant infected individuals in [Panay Island], there is a critical need for prompt recognition of the variants circulating in the community to allow proper planning and intervention measures to avoid a further surge in cases,” the petition read.

It was signed by the five provincial governors and two mayors of the highly urbanized cities of the region, with only Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao not signing the petition.

Cadiao told Daily Guardian that she was not present during the meeting when the petition was signed, but expressed her support for the petition.

She and Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda wrote the Department of Health (DOH) two weeks ago on the same subject.

“Loren Legarda and I have already written to the DOH two weeks ago, and anyway [the petition] is moot and academic because we have already written. But yes, I support this petition,” said Cadiao in a phone interview.

On Thursday the DOH-Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD) confirmed 4 new Delta variant cases in the region:

-59-year-old female from Pandan, Antique;

-30-year-old male from Mandurriao, Iloilo City;

-32-year-old female from Cabatuan, Iloilo; and

-46-year-old male from Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

The case from Iloilo City was first confirmed by the city government through its Facebook page. The patient was first confirmed for COVID-19 on July 9, and continued to yield positive result after repeat testing on July 23, based on the record of the City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit.

His wife also tested positive for COVID-19 after a swab test on July 12, and currently joins him under home quarantine.

As a result, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas ordered a lockdown of the patient’s residence as well as his workplace in Molo district, where contact tracing and testing are now being coordinated.

The DOH-WV CHD said in a press release that the patient is being coordinated for transport to an isolation facility for quarantine.

The case from Cabatuan town was also earlier confirmed by Mayor Ronilo Caspe in an interview. The patient was originally admitted to the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao for dialysis.

She tested positive for COVID on July 8 after close contact with another patient.

She was discharged on July 26 three days after testing negative, only to be readmitted on July 27 after complaining of difficulty of breathing.

The patient did not have any close contacts at home. Her mother did not have close contact with her during her stay at the hospital.

Caspe said that the patient’s mother, younger sibling, in-law, and nephew would undergo swab testing today, July 30.

As to the case from Barotac Nuevo, the DOH-WV CHD said the case is still in Manila and was only tagged to Iloilo province as it was his declared residence.