Omicron present in Baguio but…city government shrugs that it can manage

BAGUIO CITY (January 16, 2021) — The current trend in cases, pattern of illness and symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients and other indications point to the presence of the omicron variant in the city albeit no official case has been declared, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.
Though officially, the mayor said, “we still have no omicron case based on the Philippine Genome Center report but looking at the symptoms and the conditions of our patients and other circumstances, all indications point to the fact that omicron is now in the city of Baguio.  Saying otherwise would be inaccurate.”
The mayor added current symptoms being reported by patients in the city are similar to those experienced by his relatives and others who got infected by the virus in the US where omicron is currently prevalent.
“Look at our cases, maski na napakarami na nating cases ngayon pero napakababa pa rin ng severe, all indications that we have now omicron in the city and most probably we now have community transmission,” he said.
Last Jan. 13, the city posted 516 cases, its new highest number of cases in one day breaking its past record of 411 posted on Sept. 18, 2021.  Majority of the cases were asymptomatic to mild.  Also for this month, five deaths were recorded which is low when compared to the high number of fatalities sustained by the city at the time of the delta variant surge.
The mayor said latest projections indicate the city’s daily cases will reach a peak of 500 cases and total active cases will hit the 9,000-10,000 mark before it can realize a downtrend probably by the first or second week of February.
City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo echoed the mayor’s observations on omicron presence citing the abrupt change in the trajectory of cases in the city and the characteristics of the illness of current patients.
“At the time of the delta variant, the illness tended to be severe but at present, we are seeing less severe cases indicative that it is now omicron that is causing the infections,” she said.
The mayor however assured that the city is prepared to handle the fresh wave as it had proactively prepared contingency measures like it did with the delta variant spike it successfully emerged from in less than two months.
“We can manage.   With the delta variant which we regard as more difficult due to the severity of cases, we were able to efficiently manage the situation in one month and 17 days.  With omicron we are more prepared so we can do it,” he said.
Artemio A. Dumlao