MATI City Mayor Michelle Rabat said the presence of the Beta variant or 501.V2 in Davao Oriental is no longer surprising.
In a press statement, the Davao Oriental Provincial Epidemiologic Surveillance Unit (PESU) confirmed that the swab specimen taken from a 63-year-old male from Mati City who died on May 17 was positive for the Beta variant, which was first detected in South Africa. The results confirming the new variant came out on July 8.
“The latest confirmation of the Department of Health on the presence of South African coronavirus variant that unfortunately led to the demise of one Matinian last May 17 was no longer a surprise to us,” Rabat said in a statement.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Rabat said the virus mutates and that it will get worse until such time a vaccine is developed to fight against it.
“This is also the reason why we have been making warnings to the public of possible new variants entering the city since last month. Because we are resigned to the fact that it will come to our city and it is only a matter of time,” the mayor said.
She said the city is “prepared” in addressing the situation by enforcing existing Covid-19 measures.
“Our campaign for City Ordinance No. 427 or the Disiplina Panahon sa Pandemya Ordinance is ongoing and have authorized our purok presidents, barangay tanods to issue citation [tickets]. This is to instill discipline in our community,” Rabat said.
She also said Mati has been “preparing for the worst” and that they can only handle the new variants with the help and cooperation of the public.
Meanwhile, the deceased patient, who was admitted to the Davao Regional Medical Center on May 9, 2021, died due to respiratory failure secondary to acute distress syndrome, secondary to Covid-19 pneumonia. He also had comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes.
Based on reports, the Beta variant, a variant of concern, carries a mutation that appears to make it more contagious or easy to spread.
The Provincial Task Force Covid-19 advised the public to strictly adhere to the standard health protocols and to abide by the current quarantine guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Task Force also encouraged the public to have themselves vaccinated against Covid-19.
As of July 11, Mati has 135 active cases.
According to the Department of Health data as of June 10, the entire Davao Oriental had a total of 3,057 confirmed cases, with 334 active cases, 2,636 recoveries, and 87 deaths.