DUMAGUETE CITY – The Provincial Health Office (PHO) in Negros Oriental is appealing to residents to strengthen their protection against the more transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) despite a continuing decline in infections in the province.
In a virtual presser Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion, Covid-19 incident commander of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), noted that two cases of the virus strain were already reported in Samboan, Cebu.
Barge trips between Samboan town and Negros Oriental take only 45 minutes to one hour.
Other parts of Cebu province, including Cebu City, have also reported Delta variant cases, Estacion said.
“Let us not be hard-headed in following health protocols and we should even wear a face shield with a face mask if possible as an added layer of protection even though thankfully the province does not have a single Delta variant case so far,” she said in mixed English and Cebuano dialect.
She reiterated her appeal for residents here to refrain from non-essential travel to high-risk areas outside of the province.
Estacion said she will also be asking the IATF in a meeting on Wednesday regarding stricter border control with the presence of the Delta variant in nearby Cebu.
“It only takes one Delta variant case to come to Negros Oriental to generate more infections,” she warned.
Meanwhile, Estacion said they will also consider requesting the Department of Health (DOH) if they can also set up a facility that can detect Covid-19 variants.
“We will ask if the molecular laboratory is just the requirement so we can also apply for test kits that will detect these variants,” she said.
Estacion said during a meeting of the National Vaccine Operations Center that she attended virtually on Monday, the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) asked the government for funding allocation to establish a genome testing center in Cebu City and Davao.
With additional genome testing facilities in the country, it will be faster to detect Covid-19 variants, she said. (PNA)