BAGUIO CITY (April 12, 2021)—The Regional Epedemiology Surveillance Unit of the Center for Health Development of the Department of Health (DOH-CHD-RESU) notified the Provincial Epedemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU) of Kalinga Sunday night (April 11, 2021) that there are four newly identified UK variant cases from the Rizal and Pasil towns and the City of Tabuk.
The newly identified cases were identified as a 26 year old male from Liwan West, Rizal, Kalinga and a 39 year old male from Cagaluan, Pasil, Kalinga whose samples were tested by Baguio General Hospital Medical Center (BGHMC) on March 5, 2021; a 25 year old female from Bulanao, Tabuk City and 42 year old male also from Appas, Tabuk City, Kalinga whose samples were tested by BGHMC on March 8, 2021.
Per recommendations of the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 Variants, cases positive for any variant of concern should have a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) on or after the end of their isolation before they can be tagged as recovered, regardless if they have completed the 10-day isolation period.
Kalinga Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Ed Tandingan informed the City and Municipal Health Officers of the said cases and they were instructed to take necessary steps to immediately resolve the issue.
The Tabuk City Health Office and the MHOs of Kalinga are instructed to determine if the cases in their respective catchment areas have been released from isolation. If released from isolation, the said identified cases will be put to strict home quarantine pending negative RT PCR test. If in case they are still in isolation, they will be kept isolated pending negative repeat PCR test at end of their isolation, clinical recovery, and completion of set days of isolation, and If their RT PCR turns to be positive, the isolation process will still be continued.
The health offices will also conduct further investigation to trace back the contacts of the cases up to the 3rd generation contacts and take samples for RT PCR, then put them to strict quarantine for 14 days regardless of a negative result.
First generation close contacts will be placed in a facility. The Second and third generation contacts shall be preferably placed in a quarantine facility but may be accommodated at home after complying to standards set in the DOH-DILG Joint Administrative Order. Said contacts shall be required to undergo a repeat PCR test at the end of their quarantine completion and shall be discharged from quarantine if the PCR is negative.
As of April 11, 2021, Kalinga recorded six UK Variant cases since it got into the country last January 2021.
Kalinga’s first two recorded cases were identified from Lubuagan who tested positive from SARS-COV-2 last February 17, 2021 and was confirmed by the CHD to be a B.1.1.7 or UK Variant on March 15, 2021.
Both patients have fully recovered, and the rapid contact tracing by LGU was implemented.
Artemio A. Dumlao