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More 200 plus new Covid cases expected in the next days, city epidemiologist warns

GET JABBED. City Health Services Office Dr. Rowena Galpo reminds Baguio folks to get vaccinated as the city braces for the impact of the more contagious Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus. Already, the city is experiencing an unprecedented surge in new cases and it may get worse, warned CHSO doctors and even mayor Benjamin Magalong, who promised that more hospital beds will be added in the next days for the isolation of Covid cases. Neil Clark Ongchangco / PIO - Baguio

With Baguio logging 226 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, the surge this month may see more 200 plus new cases in the days to come, warned city Epidemiological and Surveillance Unit head Dr. Donnabel Tubera-Panes.

It was the second 200 plus cases the city logged in the first eight days of September which is feared to be one of the worst months for the city during the pandemic when record numbers will be logged.

The single day 226 new cases is topped only by the 227 reported last April 2.

“We expect to see more 200 cases in the coming days,” warned Panes during Wednesday’s Ugnayan at the Baguio City Hall multi-purpose hall which she said is triggered by the more contagious Delta variant. Last April, a record 3,046 cases were logged, the surge is believed to be caused by the Alpha and Beta variants.

The April surge saw Baguio logging more than 101 cases a day, and it took nine days to reach the 1,000 mark, but in this month’s unusual surge, it took Baguio only seven days to surpass the mark.

The eight day total of 1,274 means nearly 160 new cases a day and all but one of the days saw three digit numbers.

Panes reminded Baguio folks to be extra careful and continue to observe the minimum health protocol but this time extend it to the household.

“The fight is now also within our homes. We have to protect our loved ones. We have now to use facemasks even at our homes,” she said.

Panes said the virus is more contagious that a carrier could infect five to eight more people compared to the maximum five of the earlier variants.

She said that there are already 13 Delta cases in the city with the youngest infected person at four year old and the oldest at 85 year old. There has been one death traced to the said variant, she added.

But the number could be higher, it could be 200 or a staggering 732 Delta cases, she said.

Panes also urged locals to get jabbed which will be protection from the more contagious Delta variant.

“It is not a perfect vaccine but it will reduce the risk of having a severe case,” Panes said as they noted that the vaccine, though it may not reduce the risk of contracting the virus, could prevent severe cases and even death.

The surge has resulted to an unprecedented 1,545 active cases, the most the city ever had that now puts a strain on the bed capacity of health capacity.

Dr. Alice Torres, who is in charge of the city’s isolation facilities like at the former Sto. Nino Hospital and the Baguio Teachers Camp said that they are not yet at full capacity but have taken steps to be prepared for the added patients in the next day.

This even as the city tries to increase the bed capacity.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier assured residents that his office is doing its best to have sufficient hospital beds with the expected increase of Covid-19 cases in the next days.

Magalong also said that as part of the contingency plan for the Delta variant, stepdown facilities have been readied to accommodate hospital patients on convalescence can be transferred.

“Patients with moderate symptoms who turned mild or asymptomatic can be transferred to these stepdown units so that hospitals can be declogged and will have room for other patients with moderate or severe symptoms,” the mayor said.

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