DOH: 8 active Delta cases after retests on 'recovered' patients

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
DOH: 8 active Delta cases after retests on 'recovered' patients
This undated photo shows civilians in face mask crossing the pedestrian lane
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:22 p.m.)  — The Department of Health on Tuesday said there are now eight active cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 after retests on patients previously listed as recovered.  

It was up from the seven that Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told CNN Philippines early this morning. 

She said local governments had classified them as recovered after completing a two-week isolation and a negative test.

"Most of them were not able to be tested after the 14th day," Vergeire added. "When we went back because we were able to determine they had the Delta, we retested again."

The eight individuals are part of the 11 local Delta cases reported by officials last week. The count is: 1 from Manila, 1 from Misamis Oriental, 2 returning Filipinos from overseas, and 4 from Cagayan de Oro.

Vergeire told reporters they are now monitoring the eight. The health official added they are not showing symptoms, but still have to complete another 14-day quarantine. 

"When we look closely, all these cases already have high CT values meaning the viral load in their bodies is low," she said in Filipino, "and most likely, are not that infectious anymore."

CT value refers to the "cycle threshold," or the number of cycles for an RT-PCR test to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"But of course, we would still like to be very sure, that's why they are still under quarantine," Vergeire added. 

She also made clear that the eight were not returned to their communities before being tagged again as active cases from the variant. 

Delta was first identified in India, and is seen to be driving a significant increase in COVID-19 cases even in countries with high vaccination rates. 

DOH: Let us assume local transmission

Vergeire said they have since met with government agencies and local officials to ramp up contact tracing. LGUs have already identified 91 close contacts of the 16 new Delta cases.

Asked on local transmission of the Delta variant, she said the health department has yet to make an official determination. 

But, she added: "Let us assume already that there is this local transmission so we will be more cautious and our response will be anticipatory."

Private hospitals on Monday warned they would be short of medical personnel should the country see another surge in infections. 

A rise in transmissions in April saw the National Capital Region and nearby provinces put under Enhanced Community Quarantine, the strictest classification.

Vergeire said the health department is already in discussion with experts if restrictions should be heightened due to the threat of the Delta variant. 

"We met with our experts yesterday," she said, "and there are some recommendations already. We're going to meet them again tomorrow so we can finalize a recommendation to the IATF."

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