June 23, 2024

The Department of Health central office has confirmed last week that 13 Omicron variant cases were detected in the Cordillera.
In a release on Jan. 27, the DOH said out of the 677 latest samples subjected to genome sequencing at the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (PGC), 618 were Omicron variant cases, of which 13 are from the Cordillera.
The Baguio City Public Information Office reported that Omicron variant cases in the city climbed to nine with the detection of seven additional cases in the recent bio-surveillance report of the UP-PGC.
The Mountain Province Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit has informed that one Omicron case was traced to Bontoc. The other areas in the Cordillera where the other Omicron variant cases were detected were not immediately known.
The DOH said out of the 618 Omicron variant cases recently detected, 497 are local cases and 121 are returning overseas workers.
The Cordillera is one of the 13 regions where the local Omicron cases were recently detected.
The other regions are National Capital Region where 238 cases were detected; Calabarzon, 71; Ilocos Region and Western Visayas, 30 each; Eastern Visayas, 28; Central Luzon, 27; Central Visayas, 20; Cagayan Valley, 19; Davao Region, 10; Soccsksargen, six; Bicol Region and Mimaropa, two each; Northern Mindanao, one.
The DOH also reported Omicron lineage, B.1.1.529, and its sub-lineages, BA.1 and BA.2, have been detected in the country.
The earliest detection of the BA.2 sub-lineage was on Dec. 31, 2021 and was found to be the majority of Omicron cases in the latest batch.
“Data gathered by the DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-National Institutes for Health showed that there is no significant difference in BA.1 and BA.2 characteristics in terms of transmissibility or severity of disease,” the DOH said.
The agency said investigation is ongoing to determine why BA.2 has become more prevalent than BA.1, “but so far the detection of BA.2 does not entail any significant change in the Covid-19 response.”
The DOH added the total number of confirmed Delta variant cases in the counter is now 8,647.
The DOH said regardless of the variant, the public must seek safety and protection to further prevent virus transmission and mutation.
“The DOH urges the public to complete their primary series of vaccines and boosters, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus such as the elderly, the young, and the sick,” it added. – Jane B. Cadalig