‘Omicron now in Baguio’

Artemio Dumlao - The Philippine Star

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Although no case has been officially declared, the pattern of illnesses and symptoms manifested by COVID patients and other indications show that the Omicron variant is now present in Baguio, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said yesterday.

“We still have no Omicron case based on the Philippine Genome Center report. But looking at the symptoms and the conditions of our patients and other circumstances, all indications point to the fact that Omicron is now in Baguio.  Saying otherwise would be inaccurate,” Magalong said.

He said the current symptoms being reported by patients are similar to those experienced by his relatives and other persons who contracted the virus in the United States, where the Omicron variant is prevalent.

“Look at our cases, maski na napakarami na nating cases ngayon pero napakababa pa rin ng severe cases. All indications that we have now show that Omicron is in the city, and most probably we now have community transmission,” Magalong said.

On Thursday, the city posted a new high number of cases logged in a day at 516, breaking its past record of 411 posted on Sept. 18, 2021.

A majority of the cases were asymptomatic to mild.

For this month, the city recorded five fatalities, which is low compared to the number of deaths during the surge fueled by the Delta variant.

Magalong said latest projections indicated that the city’s daily cases would peak at 500, with the total active cases breaching the 9,000 to 10,000 mark before slowing down by the first or second week of February.

Baguio health officer Rowena Galpo echoed Magalong’s observations on the presence of Omicron, citing the abrupt change in the trajectory of the cases and the characteristics of the illness of the current patients.

“During the time of the Delta variant, the illness tended to be severe. At present, we are seeing less severe cases, indicative that it is now Omicron that is causing the infections,” Galpo said.

Magalong assured the residents that the city government is ready to handle the fresh wave of infections.

He said the city has prepared contingency measures like it did during the surge of the Delta variant, wherein Baguio recovered from the situation in less than two months.

“We can manage. With the Delta variant, which we regard as more difficult due to the severity of cases, we were able to efficiently manage the situation in one month and 17 days.  With Omicron, we are more prepared, we can do it,” he said.

Hospital services suspended

Meanwhile, two government hospitals in Negros Occidental limited  their patient acceptance due to COVID infections among their staff and full  bed capacity.

Administrators of the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City yesterday suspended the services at the Obstetrician-Gynecology and Out-Patient Department after four doctors and a nurse contracted the virus.

The Corazon Locsin Monteli-bano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod City announced that its Pediatric Department would limit admission to “extreme emergency cases only” until further notice. It said  the bed capacity of its pediatric ward for non-COVID cases was fully utilized. –  Gilbert Bayoran


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