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Cebu News

60 Cebu samples negative for UK variant

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Health-7 announced yesterday that 60 out of the 70 samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center were negative to the UK COVID-19 variant.

DOH-7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said that these samples came from the cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu and in Cebu Province.

She said that the remaining 10 samples have not been tested yet due to some technicalities.

Loreche, however, said despite the negative results of the 60 samples, it is still possible that the UK variant may already be around locally, although yet subject for confirmation through the samples collected.

“Although these are from the targeted population as I have already stated before, there is the possibility that we didn’t gather the sample from one infected with the UK variant,” Loreche explained.

She said it is also possible that there is a local variant of the COVID-19 virus that is not yet identified.

Apart from the possibility of the new variant being around, Loreche said there are other factors that contribute to the rising statistics.

These include people movement, which she said is indicative of attempt to learn to live with COVID in the new normal.

She also cited the businesses and establishments that have opened in keeping with economic recovery efforts. Then, there is COVID fatigue, which was explained by Loreche as a feeling of being tired of the situation, prompting the public to “challenge the presence of COVID.”

Finally, Loreche also cited the natural tendency to socialize and breach protocols, as well as the efficiency of the emergency operations center in its contact tracing efforts, “which can account greatly to the numbers.”

But as has been emphasized, it is not a hopeless situation.

“What we have in our hands to ride this out is that we have a testing capacity that can handle the samples from the contact tracing and those that seek early intervention. (We have) people's awareness that they need to seek medical care once they feel unwell, (we have) temporary treatment and monitoring facilities and isolation facilities that can handle the admissions for mild and asymptomatic cases,” Loreche said.

“(Then there’s) readiness of the hospitals, private and government to maintain their 30% bed allocation and willingness to open up more beds should there be a need for it, and an established referral system that has maximized our critical care utilization,” she added.

 Loreche further said to fight the pandemic, people involvement is needed such that they can understand the huge role they play in the fight.

Other factors are the close monitoring of isolation facilities and hospitals to make sure that they can handle any further increases and the participation of the local government units in the strict implementation of the public health measures.

DOH-7 submitted on Friday additional 91 samples from Central Visayas for genome sequencing by PGC.

These samples came from the cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu Province and in Bohol Province. – JMD (FREEMAN)

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