BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
“No need to panic,” deputy for Medical and Data Analysis, Dr. Chris Sorongon, of the Emergency Operations Center, said yesterday on the detection of more variants of Covid-19 in Bacolod City, as reported by the Philippine Genome Center.
Records from the Department of Health Region 6 showed that, as of Monday, Bacolod logged an additional Beta variant, 10 Theta, and two more Delta infections from the 72 new cases detected in Western Visayas.
The new Delta cases included a 45-year-old from Brgy. Villamonte, who is a returning Filipino worker, and a 6-month-old baby boy from Brgy. Bata, who have both recovered.
Sorongon said the parents of the baby had earlier tested positive for Covid-19 but they cannot confirm whether both parents were Delta variant carriers since their specimens did not qualify for sequencing, based on the requirements set by the Philippine Genome Center.
As to the ROF, Sorongon said that when he arrived in Manila, he was quarantined and was swabbed on the fifth day before he was allowed to travel to Bacolod to complete his 14-day isolation.
All the close contacts of the two cases have already been traced and swabbed while the baby and the ROF were again tested for Covid-19.
Sorongon lamented that the problem is that the city does not have a molecular laboratory where they can get the specimens in less than 24 hours and submit these to the PGC for swifter detection of the Covid variants.
For now, people should get vaccinated, using whatever brand of the jab is available, to be protected from the variants, Sorongon said.
He added that of the 417 Covid-related deaths in Bacolod, eight had received their first dose and the rest were unvaccinated.
Sorongon said Bacolod was able to keep the Covid cases at a double-digit in the last two weeks but admitted that the situation in the city remains erratic.
Executive director Em Ang, meanwhile, said the Bureau of Quarantine is set to deliver a machine to Bacolod this week or next week for the issuance of the vaccination passport for residents bound overseas.
Ang said this “passport” will contain the date of the vaccinations and the brand of jabs injected on the holder, based on the records that will be obtained from the City Vaccination Council.
She said that the application form must be downloaded online, and they intend to accept the applications for the vaccination passport at SM City Mall.
Applicants should also bring their passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Aside from Bacolod, Aklan and Iloilo will also accept applications for vaccination passports.
Meanwhile, 27,000 doses of the city-procured AstraZeneca vaccine and 585 vials of Pfizer allocated by the national government for Bacolod arrived yesterday, and were brought immediately to the cold chain facility of the City at the Government Center.
The latest shipment was part of the 650,000 doses procured by the City Government of Bacolod from the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company using local funds, a press release from the city said.
This is the third batch of the city-procured AstraZeneca vaccines delivered to Bacolod. The first batch of 18,000 doses was delivered in July, and the second batch of 3,600 doses arrived on August 20.
As of Monday, the City has inoculated 178,242 Bacolodnons, with 107,752 residents fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia earlier said: “Our goal is to make the vaccination program more accessible to everyone so that we can achieve herd immunity and eradicate Covid-19 as fast as possible.”*