21 Delta cases seen in 'retrospective' samples from April to June — DOH

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
21 Delta cases seen in 'retrospective' samples from April to June â DOH
Commuters prepare their face shields as they board an EDSA carousel bus at the Monumento station in Quezon City on Sept. 23, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Monday reported 21 more cases of the hyper contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 from samples it said date back from April to June this year. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the low number of Delta infections was because the variant had not yet entirely spread in the country during the said months. 

Authorities declared local transmission of the Delta, blamed for coronavirus surges across Southeast Asia, on July 22. 

The latest whole genome sequencing on October 2 had 749 samples, of which the Delta variant accounted for only 2.8%. 

Vegeire, however, did not, specify why these were processed months later.

"These are retrospective samples because we wanted to complete our biosurveillance activities," the official said.

It was the Beta variant or that first seen in South Africa that had the most number detected at 41.25% or 309. 

The Alpha, or the variant first identified in the United Kingdom, followed with 38.45% or 288 positive samples. 

Both DOH and the World Health Organization have said the Delta has become the most dominant variant in the Philippines.

It now accounts for 24.5% of total samples that went through genome sequencing, or 3,387 confirmed cases to date. 

Vergeire said Metro Manila remains with the most number of Delta infections, followed by Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Davao Region. 

Expanded operations 

In the same briefing, Vergeire said the Philippine Genome Center is now preparing to process 1,500 samples per week from its original capacity of only 750. 

Officials have long admitted the country's ability to detect variant cases had been lacking.

"Maybe this month we can already do that," Vergeire said in mixed English and Filipino.

DOH has said, too, that the genome center will expand operations in Visayas and Mindanao in the University of the Philippines campuses there. 

Vergeire shared the institution is now training teams for its satellite laboratories. By November, she said they could start work and process 350 samples each. 

"Our target operationalization is by the middle to end of November," she added, "as soon as we can be able to train the staff deployed there...and complete the requirements and consumables needed by laboratories."




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