After a low of 262 new cases on Wednesday, the city saw the cases rise to 150 percent for a record 725 Thursday as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 wreaked havoc anew that total cases this month will definitely top the September figure with the Delta variant driven surge.
The surge started only after the first week of the month but cases have now ballooned to 6,205, of which 5,158 was logged during the past 10 days and the city, mayor Benjamin Magalong said is expected to have more cases “and reach the highest point in the next two weeks.”
“So this week and the next week will be critical. We expect more cases,” Magalong told media in an interview Monday.
To battle the surge, Magalong said that 22 key measures have been adopted “to address contingencies.”
The only bright spot in this new variant, Magalong said, is the low number of severe or critical cases.
Earlier this week, Magalong said that the city averaged 443 cases a day compared to 2.8 last December 28 and 3.5 last January 3. The past 10 days, the average number of cases have risen to nearly 516 a day.
Active cases rose to 4,125 and still way off the 4,686 logged October 4 of last year.
Another bright spot is more people are now given the clean bill of health with a high of 521 recoveries Thursday.
The sad note is five persons died Thursday bringing the total deaths for this month to 21.
Alert Level 3
Meanwhile, Magalong said that he is confident the city will remain under Alert Level 3 and will not reach Level 4 since measures are in place to manage the Covid-19 surge of cases due Omicron variant.
He said the city government has reduced the number of tourists, suspended the issuance of acceptance certificates; strictly enforces border controls allowing only those with essential purposes to enter and other measures.
This even as three Cordillera provinces have been elevated to alert level 4 today, January 21. These are Kalinga, Mountain Province and Ifugao. Apayao, meanwhile, is placed under alert level 3.
Magalong said that they project around 400 to 500 new cases daily as compared to 200 during the Delta surge in September and October of last year.
This week, the city has already two confirmed Omicron cases, according to the Department of Health.
Due to the lack of isolation and quarantine facilities to handle all the cases, he said that home quarantine is being maximized for those with asymptomatic, mild or moderate cases. The mayor added that only severe cases will be brought to the hospitals and temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.
Magalong said that although Omicron is more infectious than Delta, it is less severe according to health experts and interviews with patients thereby requiring less patient hospitalizations.
“To manage our isolation and quarantine facilities and in collaboration with hospitals, we make sure that if cases are asymptomatic, mild or moderate and home quarantine is possible with the residence meeting standards, then home quarantine is allowed,” he said.
The city government has reactivated its contingency plan for temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs) since the city has already reached its threshold of 250 coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) in-patients, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) chief Antonette Anaban said in a report to Magalong recently.
She said the City Health Services Office under Dr. Rowena Galpo has activated the Eurotel and Pinkhouse TTMFs with two other similar facilities pending to be opened upon the request of the Office of Civil Defense in light of the expected surge of Covid cases due to the latest variant.
Anaban is also encouraging government offices that are requesting regular disinfection to buy their own disinfection solutions in order not to exhaust the city’s supply at the CDRRMO.
She said more and more offices are requesting for regular disinfections especially those whose staff were infected and that are dealing with a lot of clients on a daily basis.
Also during the meeting, Anaban followed-up the augmentation of two Bureau of Jail Management and Penology personnel to the CDRRMO Emergency Operations Center.
More Transport for Covid Patients
Meanwhile, at least 10 of the city’s 128 barangays have committed and even re-committed their willingness to provide patient transport vehicles (PTVs) for their constituents who are infected by the Covid-19, Anaban said during a recent virtual management committee meeting with the mayor and city officials.
Anaban said these are Trancoville, Pacdal, Gibraltar, Burnham-Legarda, East Modernsite, Irisan, Loakan Proper, Pinsao Proper, San Luis, and Lualhati barangays.