- MITCH M. LIPA
Bacolod City logged 189 fresh COVID cases Jan. 17, and a doctor of the Emergency Operations Center said there is a big possibility that some of these infections might already be of the Omicron variant.
EOC deputy executive director, Dr. Chris Sorongon, said the latest figure is alarming, adding that these are post-holiday cases.
But the EOC clarified that of the fresh cases, 70 to 80 percent are asymptomatic, 10 to 15 percent are mild cases, and only one to two percent considered moderate and critical, with patients having underlying medical conditions.
The hospital admission rate in Bacolod stood at 27 percent since most of the new cases are only undergoing house isolation since they have no symptoms. Some are in the isolation facilities of Bacolod, while others are under hospital monitored house isolation because of flu-like symptoms, he added.
The EOC said it observed a series of COVID case increases, with 67 infections in Jan. 15, 89 in Jan. 16, and almost double at 189 cases today, Jan. 17.
This was the result of regular swab testing conducted on patients in hospitals, like pregnant women, and in various companies, like call centers, banks, and other big establishments that require their employees to undergo Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) as part of their regular health checks at the start of the new year. Those found reactive to the RAT underwent RT-PCR for confirmatory testing, and several turned COVID-positive.
With more than 700 active cases in Bacolod at present, EOC executive director Em Ang said they will strictly implement the restrictions under Alert Level 3. She said there were still some residents who were not aware that minors and senior citizens are being discouraged from going out of their houses, except when they need to buy essentials and medicines, or go to vaccination centers for their anti-COVID shots.
Ang said they will continue to monitor the COVID situation in the coming days, especially since a lot of those who took their vacation outside of Bacolod have returned and some have started showing symptoms.
There are now four schools being used as isolation facilities, namely the Medalla Elementary School in Pahanocoy, A.L. Jayme Elementary School in Tangub, ETCS 4 and another school, Ang said.
The EOC will also continue with its house to house vaccination, while malls and barangay bakuna centers are likewise administering first, second or booster shots.
The 189 new cases Jan. 17 were the second highest in a single day logged in Bacolod since the start of the pandemic.
The all-time high record was at 197 cases, sometime in September 2021.| MML