GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Health personnel here have not recorded any variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as of Tuesday amid the continuing spike of locally transmitted infections.
Dr. Rochelle Oco, head of the City Health Office (CHO), said the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) has not detected the presence of Covid-19 mutant strains in qualified samples that they sent in the past several weeks.
Previously, she said the city had two cases of variants but the patients had already recovered and no related infections were reported.
The city government last confirmed on May 12 the detection of Covid-19 variants from two returning overseas Filipino workers, who were infected with the Alpha or B1.1.7 (United Kingdom) and Delta or the B.1.617 (India) strains.
It reported a case of the Alpha variant on April 12 from a returning authorized person outside reside (APOR) who infected two close contacts as confirmed on April 20.
“So far, we have no variant (case) and we need to keep it that way,” Oco said in an online business forum.
She said CHO has sustained its active surveillance from among the confirmed cases emerging in the city’s 26 barangays.
The qualified samples based on the bio-surveillance criteria were sent to UP-PGC for genome sequencing, she said.
The city’s first case of the Alpha variant was earlier detected after the CHO sent samples of a patient who had caused an unusually high number of infections.
Oco acknowledged that the Covid-19 mutations are confirmed to be more contagious than the original strain, especially the Delta variant.
She said studies showed that while the original strain can spread to at least two persons, the Alpha variant could infect up to five people, and as high as eight for the Delta variant.
Oco said such situations are quite alarming for the city since 56 percent of the confirmed cases are symptomatic.
As of Monday evening, Covid-19 active cases in the city slightly dropped to 693 after it recorded 84 new recoveries, higher than the 70 additional infections.
The confirmed cases in the area since March last year already reached a total of 5,583, with 171 related deaths and 4,719 recoveries. (PNA)