February 5, 2023

The number of Covid-19 cases in the Cordillera is nearing the 5,000 mark, eight months after the first case was recorded in the region in March. 

The acceleration in the number of cases is attributed to the expanded testing done in neighboring towns of Tuba and Itogon, both in Benguet where clustering was recorded in mining communities and a restaurant employing over a hundred workers in Baguio City.

As of Nov. 6, the total number of confirmed cases in Cordillera is 4,267 with Baguio having the highest number of cases with 2,331, followed by Benguet with 1,443 and Kalinga with 217. 

Cordillera is ranked sixth among regions with the highest number of cases with the towns of Tuba and Itogon and Baguio City classified as “high risk” by the University of the Philippines Octa Research Team.

Based on the Covid-19 tracker of the Department of Health-Cordillera, Itogon logged the highest number of cases in Benguet with a total of 681 cases. Case clustering have been recorded at Barangay Virac with 277 cases and Barangay Poblacion Central with 119.

La Trinidad has 462 spread out in its 16 barangays.

Tuba has 329 cases with clustering recorded at Barangay Camp 3 with 285.

In  Baguio, Barangays Irisan, Lower Lourdes Subdivision, and Sto. Niño-Slaughterhouse Compound logged the highest number of cases with 151, 131, and 119, respectively. 

Part of the response done in Baguio is to add beds in its current isolation and quarantine facilities. The city identified three more areas – a portion of the Baguio Convention Center, Eurotel Hotel, and an apartment at Barangay Phil-Am – as additional isolation areas. 

City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan also heightened border control measures in the two areas to stem the spread of the infection.

Last Nov. 4, Palangdan also issued an executive order stopping all mining operations particularly at the mining communities of Virac, Poblacion, and Ampucao. The order was lifted on Nov. 6.

Due to the surge of cases in Tuba and Itogon, some patients have been referred to the provincial isolation facilities in La Trinidad to accommodate those who can no longer be contained at the municipal isolation facilities.

The provincial government also rented a dormitory in Baguio to house more patients. 

Gov. Melchor Diclas has also requested the National Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to suspend for 10 days the expanded testing in areas where case clustering was recorded, pending the recovery of those currently isolated or under quarantine. He said this is also to give time to the provincial government to look for more areas for isolation.

The Cordillera also continues to log a high recovery rate.

As of Nov. 5, total recoveries are now 3,070. The region recorded 45 deaths. – Rimaliza A. Opiña