June 7, 2023

Baguio City-based relatives and contacts of Covid-19 UK variant cases in La Trinidad, Benguet and Bontoc, Mountain Province are now being closely monitored for disease containment.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the third UK variant case in La Trinidad, who was also the country’s first recorded fatality from the more transmissible variant, had relatives in one barangay in the city. They are tagged as secondary contacts.
He said the relatives had direct contact with the grandchild of the UK variant patient. The child eventually tested positive for Covid-19 although it is not determined if it is the UK type.
The city’s contact tracing team said the four contacts belonged to one household.
Aside from monitoring and subjecting the patients to tests, the household had been placed under granular lockdown to restrict their movement and avoid interaction with others.
Aside from the relatives, a still undetermined number of health workers who attended to the deceased patient and his family members were also included in the monitoring.
The third case, an 84-year-old male who expired in a Baguio City hospital last Jan. 24 had no connection to the first two cases based on results of the link analysis done by the city contact tracing team.
The mayor said contacts of the first case including some co-workers who are Baguio residents had been identified and isolated and those who tested positive for the virus are still awaiting results of genome sequencing to determine if they also caught the UK variant.
The contact tracing team said 38 close contacts had been identified, including co-workers of the index case and his parents and siblings.
The mayor reiterated the high probability that the variant had already reached Baguio considering that the parents of the first case catered to Baguio clients.  This is aside from the fact that some of their identified contacts failed to properly observe quarantine protocols.
“We can safely assume that most probably, we have the UK variant in our city,” the mayor reiterated.
Apart from the contacts of the La Trinidad cases, the city had also put under tight watch five other Covid-19 positive residents in two barangays who had links to the UK variant cases in Bontoc.
One of the cases was present at the family gathering attended by the 12 UK variant cases in the town while another was a direct contact of one of the cases who infected three members of his/her household.  
The Department of Health had logged 25 UK variant cases in the country as of Feb. 10, of which 15 are from Bontoc and three are from La Trinidad. Of the total, 22 have already recovered. – Aileen P. Refuerzo