EOC keeps close watch on Omicron-infected ROF

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The cluster head for contact-tracing of the Emergency Operations Center-Task Force reiterated Jan. 4 that Bacolodnons have nothing to worry over the returning overseas Filipino (ROF) earlier found to have been infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Dr. Rosalie Deocampo of the EOC-TF contact-tracing cluster said the task force is closely coordinating with the national office of the Department of Health, through Dr. Jane Juanico of the DOH 6 Infectious Diseases Unit, regarding their next move based on the Inter-Agency Task Force guidelines.

The ROF and his wife were allowed two more extra days with their booking by the hotel management. Meaning, the couple will be out by Jan. 7 from their current accommodation, she added.

Deocampo said they will keep the public posted as soon as the national DOH has issued any advice whether to extend their isolation or allow them to already reintegrate with the community.

The IATF guidelines allow for only 10 days of isolation for recovered patients, Deocampo emphasized, adding that the ROF “has already recovered and the people have nothing to worry about.”

The RT-PCR test result last night, Jan. 3, of the 38-year-old ROF, who works on a cruise ship based in Miami, Florida, showed that he was still COVID positive, but with a 36.7 cycle threshold, meaning he is no longer infectious, Deocampo said.

His wife’s swab test result turned out negative, she added.

Both are non-Bacolod natives. The husband is from Mindanao and the wife is from Pampanga, who arrived in the city Dec. 5 and has since worked as a call center agent at a local Business Process Outsourcing firm.

EOC-TF executive director Em Ang earlier said the ROF was fully vaccinated and had also received his booster shot while still in the US.

Councilor Israel Salanga, during the emergency zoom meeting of the EOC called by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, noted that the ROF has already been declared recovered with complete documents by the Manila LGU before arriving at the Bacolod-Silay Airport via a sweeper flight.

Salanga heads the cluster on overseas Filipino workers.

The infected ROF, Deocampo recounted, traveled from Miami to New York Dec. 12.

From New York, he took the flight to the Philippines and arrived in Manila Dec. 15.

He was billeted at the Century Park Hotel in Malate, an Overseas Workers Welfare Office-accredited quarantine facility.

While under quarantine, he developed symptoms, such as sore throat, cough, and colds Dec. 17, which he blamed on the hot chocolate drink he took.

On Dec. 19, he underwent an RT-PCR test, a mandatory procedure taken five days after arrival.

His results came out positive Dec. 20, the same day that his symptoms were resolved.

He was transferred to an isolation facility dedicated for COVID-19 positive cases in Malate, Manila until he was given clearance as recovered on the 12th day from his swab test or 14th day from onset of symptoms. On Dec. 31, a doctor at the facility cleared the ROF, who became asymptomatic since Dec. 20.

He was declared fit to travel and was given the go-ahead to be on a sweeper flight to Bacolod.

He was picked up by his wife at the Bacolod-Silay Airport via a privately-owned car.

Ang said his genome sequencing test results were released only on Jan. 1, indicating that he had been infected with the Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, Leonardia held off any decision to restart the holding of limited face-to-face classes at the Alangilan National High School.

He also put on hold his final decision on applications by a local college and a local university to begin face-to-face classes of their allied medical courses.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran concurred with the suggestion of Councilor Cindy Tan-Rojas and key EOC members to set aside F2F class instructions between 15 to 30 days, because there is  a high possibility of the resurgence of cases, like in Manila,  especially after the holidays. | MML