Mass gatherings blamed for Eastern Visayas COVID-19 case surge

Miriam Desacada (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2021 - 12:00am

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Eastern Visayas recorded 572 COVID-19 cases yesterday, the highest recorded in a day since last year.

The Department of Health-Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-EVCHD) said the rise in cases was caused by super spreader events or mass gatherings such as parties, reunions and fiestas, as well as the easing of quarantine protocols.

The agency said it received reports of violations of quarantine protocols as well as the “seeming neglect of duty” of local government and barangay officials.

Leyte recorded the highest number of new cases at 163; Northern Samar, 123; Tacloban, 112; Southern Leyte, 82; Samar, 44; Ormoc, 28; Eastern Samar, 15, and Biliran, 5.

The DOH-EVCHD’s surveillance unit said it is continuing its investigation into the presence of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19, particularly in Calbayog, Samar.

“Additional samples will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center for sequencing to verify the possibility of the presence of other variants of concern in the region,” the agency said.

It said hospitals in the region, including the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, are at critical level.

“This surge in new cases threatens the region’s health system, which has been saddled with limited resources and manpower in existing health facilities,” according to an advisory from the DOH-EVCHD.

The DOH regional office reminded local government units to intensify the implementation and observance of minimum health protocols.

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