BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Questions have been raised on the existence of an alleged highly-contagious Covid-19 Lambda variant case in Negros Occidental, that was reported as a local case by Eva Maria dela Paz of the Philippine Genome Center.
Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday that the Provincial Health Office, in coordination with the Department of Health and the Philippine Genome Center, is further validating the report on the alleged Lambda variant that infected a 35-year-old woman in Valladolid town, because of its peculiar circumstances.
Lambda is a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. It was first detected in Peru in December, and said to be more contagious than the original strain from Wuhan, China. It is also more resistant to vaccines, studies showed.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday he was informed that the infected person has not travelled outside Negros Occidental in the past several years, and her immediate contacts tested negative of the virus.
Lacson said Negrenses should not panic.
“Instead of panicking, stay at home and do not go out,” he said.
Personally, it doesn’t matter what variant is there, Lacson said, adding that the protocols are still the same for whatever variant there is in the province, such as wearing of face masks and shields, and observing personal hygiene.
Lacson said he is more concerned with the Delta variant, that is a fast spreader.
The existence of the alleged Delta variant in the province was disputed earlier by the provincial government.
Diaz said the woman was asymptomatic, adding that while her first swab test yielded a positive result, the confirmatory test turned out negative.
The swab test results of her immediate contacts also yielded negative, he added.
“If the Lambda variant is highly contagious, how come her close contacts have all tested negative?” Diaz asked.
The woman reportedly gave birth to a baby boy on July 22 at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City, and tested positive for Covid, Diaz said.
After being discharged from the hospital on July 26, she was placed on isolation at the EB Magalona quarantine facility, and the sample was sent to the UP Philippine Genome Center for genome sequencing. The result came out on Aug. 15, and showed she was infected allegedly by the Lambda variant, he added.
Diaz said the woman, who has not been vaccinated, was re-swabbed yesterday while being quarantined at the Valladolid District Hospital.
He said that Negrenses should not jump into conclusions that there is already a Lambda variant in the province.
The number of Covid cases in the province was steadily going down, and hospital occupancy was at about 30 percent, Diaz said, adding that the Department of Health downgraded the risk classification of Negros Occidental from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1.*