April 17, 2024

Transmission of the Covid-19 virus is no longer confined in hospitals.
Last week, the Department of Health has recorded a clustering of Covid-19 cases in households and in areas where essential services are provided, such as banks and grocery stores.
Clustering of cases refers to two or more cases in a particular area, which were recorded in Barangays Camp 7, Irisan, and MRR Queen of Peace; a government workplace, banks along Session Road, and at a grocery store along Mabini Street in Baguio City; in Bucay and Lacub in Abra; banks in Benguet; and a religious congregation in Kalinga.
An average of 20 barangays have been locked down in Baguio to facilitate contact tracing, and City Hall was closed for three days each for two consecutive weeks after personnel of the city government in charge of the processing of travel permits were infected.
The management of a supermarket also decided to close for two weeks its branch in Mabini St. after several of their personnel caught the virus.
Most of the cases in the Cordillera showed mild to moderate symptoms but the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center reported a spike in severe cases.
BGHMC infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Thea Pamela Cajulao, said that of the 12 currently admitted, two have exhibited moderate to severe symptoms although both are in stable condition and are not intubated.
To determine how many among essential service providers have been infected, City Health Services Officer Rowena Galpo supports the call of Mayor Benjamin Magalong for all bank and grocery or supermarket employees to undergo RT-PCR testing, a procedure that costs P4,000.
In the expanded testing of the CHSO, Galpo said they can only cover 10 percent of the total workforce at least in supermarkets and groceries. The rest will have to be shouldered by the employers. She said the CHSO is reserving its remaining test kits when cases are expected to peak by September.
Meanwhile, in a recent assessment by the Commission on Population, there are 101,000 households in the Cordillera at risk of being infected with the virus.
Popcom Information Officer Job Manalang said at risk are those who live in households that measure 20 square meters or less and with at least four members.
Manalang said tight spaces prevent members of a household from observing physical distancing.
Barangays Asin Road, Gibraltar, and Irisan, all in Baguio City, are among the communities that have a high risk of infection and clustering of cases, Manalang said.
Senior citizens who are living alone are also vulnerable to infection.
Despite restrictions on the mobility of senior citizens to avoid their exposure to possible carriers, Manalang said those who are living alone have to go out for their needs, hence increasing their exposure.
DOH Senior Health Program Officer Karen Lonogan said these data should be used by local government units to come up with strategies to mitigate the expected surge of cases.
DOH-Cordillera Director Ruby Constantino said even if the healthcare system has adapted to the Covid-19 situation, everyone must stay vigilant and continuously assess what gaps need to be addressed such as the psychological state of healthcare workers and frontliners, and possible shortages in resources or in infrastructure.
The Cordillera now has more than 450 cases compared to that of July 30 which only had 247 cases, with seven deaths and 297 recoveries. The incidence rate is 24.4 per 100,000 population. The case doubling time is 15.38 days and the age group mostly affected are those between 20 to 39 years old.
Out of the more than 450 cases, more than 150 patients are still admitted but are in stable condition, while four severe cases are being closely monitored. – Rimaliza A. Opiña