December 6, 2022

The Covid-19 is here to stay.
Health officials in the Cordillera are not letting their guards down against the Covid-19 as subvariants continue to emerge.
Just recently, the Department of Health-Cordillera recorded its first case of the XBC subvariant, a combination of the Omicron and Delta variants, the two highly transmissible strains of the virus that causes the Covid-19.
DOH-Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit head Karen Lonogan said the case, which was recorded in Baguio City had no history of travel outside.
The patient tested positive in Sept.10 and has since been tagged as recovered. His samples were sent to the Philippine Genome Center on Sept.15 and results released on Oct. 21 tagged him as an XBC variant case.
Cordillera is one of the 11 regions where the Omicron XBC subvariant cases were detected. The earliest case was detected in the country on Aug. 23.
Although health indicators show the region is at low risk for the Covid-19, Lonogan said vigilance must be continued as sub-variants of the virus that cause the infection continue to emerge.
Aside from the XBC sub-variant, the DOH is also monitoring the XBB sub-variant, which according to Lonogan, has the most extreme immune evasion ability.
“In Asia, it has the largest growth advantage compared to other emerging Omicron sub-lineages,” she said.
The Philippines has recorded 81 cases of the XBB sub-variants as of Oct. 18.
No XBB sub-variant case was detected in the Cordillera so far.
The XBB sub-variant was first detected in India in August and in Singapore in September.
Saying the Covid-19 is “here to stay” health officials reiterated the importance of vaccination and getting booster shots to mitigate the risk of hospitalization and death from the Covid-19.
As of Oct. 24, there are 1,241,360 fully vaccinated individuals in the region, which represents a 96.48 percent coverage rate.
In terms of booster shots, the region needs to reach out to 435,787 individuals, or 33.87 percent of the 1,286,637 target population.
The DOH-Cordillera aims to administer booster shots to at least 50 percent by the end of the year. – Jane B. Cadalig