THE city’s current COVID-19 situation is “favorable” but expected to worsen in the coming weeks. This was the speculation raised by Mayor Benjamin Magalong during a press briefing last Wednesday, August 11.
According to Magalong, the situation is currently under control due to the fast and strict implementation of tightened borders in Baguio, with the Management Committee reporting only 25 to 27 cases per day, down from previous figures.
However, Magalong claims that the city is battening down the hatches in expectation of a surge brought about by the COVID-19 Delta variant.
“I don’t think that figure will be sustained for the next two weeks because looking at the mobility graphs, at all the circumstances in our environment, including our neighbor provinces, we will see an increase in cases within the next weeks,” Magalong said.
“We can only delay it, slow it, slow down the arrival, but we cannot prevent it because we continue to accept APORs, people with essential travels into the city, and most probably one of those who will come here will have that variant,” he added.
Currently, the city has stocked up on supplies, with P8 million for medicines used in COVID-19 care available, according to Magalong, Some 250 oxygen tanks are available on hand in expectation of a COVID-19 surge, he added.
The city is also still looking at some 5,000 senior citizens who remain unvaccinated, Magalong said.
As of Wednesday, the city had 360 active cases of COVID-19.
SURGE EXPECTATION IN TWO WEEKS BASED ON DATA – MAYOR
13 August 2021 – Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s projection of a Delta variant-driven surge in the city toward the next two weeks was based on data and circumstances obtaining in the country.
In his Ugnayan briefing Aug. 11, the mayor said the uptrend in COVID-19 cases in various parts of the country including the city’s neighboring localities as well as the various graph indicators of COVID-19 affectations point to this probability.
“Moreover, we continue to receive APORs (Authorized Persons Outside of Residence). Although we are subjecting them to triage and entry protocols and we do detect some positive cases who came from areas with Delta cases. We immediately isolate and send them back to their places of origin but still we cannot discount the possibility that one of these entrants had gone in and transmitted the virus,” the mayor said.
He said there is also no way of telling how many persons are now carrying the variants because the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) has no capability to do such.
“The PGC has limited resources and cannot do sequencing of all the cases. So their biosurveillance reports can only tell the degree of affectations and spread of the variants but not the quantity or volume of the persons infected with the variants. The figures they are releasing are only the official cases. Meron pang unofficial,” he said.
“For all we know we already have a case here because we already had had extraordinary cases with high infection rate but there is no way of knowing until the PCG detects it but the process takes time and the infection might have already spread considering the high transmissibility and ability of the Delta variant to infect in a short span of time of exposure, he added.
He said this was gauged from the city’s surge experience at the height of the Alpha variant’s effects last April when the city posted 1,600 active cases despite the PGC’s report of small number of cases detected.
“At present, the PGC reported that we have 144 cases of Alpha and Beta variants but our findings based on the analytical tools like links analysis of the cases, we have more, probably thousands of Alpha and Beta cases which I believe are now the dominant variants in our city at present,” the mayor said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo