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Baguio Covid cases rising, active cases near 100 after falling to 4

FIRST DAY OF WORK. The flag raising ceremony at the Baguio city hall grounds last Monday that marked the first official work for day for city employees and where city administrator Bonifacio dela Peña assured locals that the city is prepared to handle a surge the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may bring. Photo by Neil Clark Ongchangco / PIO Baguio

From four eight days ago, the number has swollen to 95 three days into the new year with the first death logged as Baguio’s holiday with low cases seem to be ending with the threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 looms.

The 26 recorded Monday during the first day of work for this year was the highest since November 30 when the Delta variant driven surge that started September came to an end that saw December a “lull” for city health workers when new cases were on a single digit or even none but for the two days before the year end.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong has warned locals as early as the first week of December to be wary as the city might be hit by the Omicron variant as early as before Christmas. It was the same warning he made last August when he said that “we will be hit hard” which happened that saw a record 394 new cases for a day and a record active cases of 4,686 on October 7 and 4, respectively.

“Let’s enjoy it while it lasts,” said the mayor during the Ugnayan, the last, on December 16 last year with local media and before he left for the United States to spend Christmas with his parents.

Also on December, the city has opened up its borders to tourists and allowed a maximum of 4,000 daily which increased to 5,000 before the Christmas week.

On December 28, new cases hit double digit, 15, the highest for the month, and again on December 31 with 14.

The City Health Office logged 18 and 10, on January 1 and 2 for a three day total of 53 which is more than half of the 104 recorded for the whole of December 2021.

Fears that the city might have another surge similar to the September and October scenario has prompted city officials to limit tourist arrivals to 4,000.

“Pre-approved travels still a go; only new requests are temporarily suspended as city prepares to limit approvals to 4,000 effective Jan. 6,…” a post on the Public Information Office – Baguio Facebook page read clarifying earlier rumors that Baguio will stop accepting tourists.

Earlier, the city also urged restaurant owners to limit their capacity to 50 percent for indoor dining and 70 percent for open air.

In an interview with local media posted on the PIO Baguio Facebook page, city administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said that there is no recorded Omicron variant in the city.

Dela Peña, who read Magalong’s New Year’s message to City Hall employees during the first flag raising ceremony Monday, assured that the city is ready in case there is a surge on Covid-19 cases due to Omicron. Magalong is already in Baguio but is under the mandatory quarantine.

Dela Peña said: “Contingency plan is in place and resources had been readied.”

While noting that “mobility is one factor for the increase of cases,… The number of cases is still minimal and manageable at present.”

Meanwhile, the city logged its first death of the year bringing the total deaths to 721. There were eight deaths for the whole month of December, down from 51 in November after highs of 171 in October and 148 in September.

Two recoveries were also logged Monday after the one on Sunday.

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