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Omicron driven surge appears to come early, number breaks projection

BE WARNED. The city’s top doctors, Dr. Rowena Galpo, right, and epidemiologist Dr. Donnabel Panes tell locals to be wary as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 driven surge may start very soon. At the worst, Baguio may have 280 new cases a say. But the two assure that the city is prepared to face such surge as contingency plans have been set similar to the Delta – driven surge in September and October last year. PIO – Baguio Photos

With the city elevated to a higher alert level, Covid-19 again struck as the City Health Office tallied 310 new cases topping projections made by the City Health Office and a bit early.

It was the highest since October 7 and the fifth highest single day infection since the start of the pandemic.

And just like that, the four active cases jumped to 927 in just a matter of two weeks.

And just like that, the city has 927 new cases since the start of the year as the Omicron variant threat is starting to wreak havoc, just like the Delta and Alpha variants in September and October and April and May, respectively.

The good news is that no case is either severe or critical, four persons are moderate, while bulk of the new patients or 236 have mild symptoms, while the rest or 68 are asymptomatic.

Moreover there are no deaths Sunday, the fifth straight since the single casualties on January 3 and 4. The number of recoveries though is small with only 54 the past nine days that may account for the 45 cases in the last four days of December, which was more than 40 percent of the new cases for the said month.

The number Sunday topped the projection of City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo who said the projected reach would be between 250 to 280 cases daily in a worst case scenario.

Moreover, she said the spike could be at the middle of the month with the peak at the fourth week of the month until mid-February.

She said the estimates were made by the University of the Philippines Baguio Department of Mathematics and the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

However, the projections were based on the current situation and may “still change as the days go by,” said CESU head Dr. Donnabel Panes.

She said the factors considered in making the assumptions were the cases at the same time last year, the Delta variant surge and vaccination rate among others.

Panes said local health authorities are “hoping that with the Omicron peak, the city would see less hospitalization and death unlike in its Delta variant experience when the city recorded a big number of severe cases and deaths.”

“We might be expecting a big number of cases but what we would like to see is less people having severe symptoms and being hospitalized with the success of our vaccination program and the sustained control measures set in place by the city,” she said.

The CHO, meanwhile, said that it is ready to face the Omicron threat as contingency plan had been placed.

“We have learned a lot from our experience with the Delta variant that is why we have made some adjustments with the current contingency plan,” said Galpo, who reported that as of January 4, Baguio has no confirmed case due to Omicron.

She added: “We are more prepared now for the Omicron which is reportedly more infectious but less severe than Delata according to the experience of other countries.”

She said isolation facilities that were opened during the height of the Delta surge will be used “in preparation for the anticipated Omicron infections including the mobilization of human resource, medicines and equipment.”

On Sunday, the Inter-Agency Task Force has raised the alert level of the city to three along woth other localities nationwide due to the surge of new Covid cases anew

The IATF directive placing Baguio under alert level 3 will be effective until January 15 has prompted mayor Benjamin Magalong to issue Executive Order 5 including limited number of tourists to the city who are required to show negative RT-PCR tests upon entry, a liquor at midnight until 12 noon and curfew from midnight until 4 AM, among others.

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