BY DOMINIQUE GABRIEL G. BAÑAGA
BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental remains free from the Omicron variant of the virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) but rising cases are alarming the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, PHO chief, observed a “sudden surge” in new cases in the past few days.
Data from Jan. 9 showed that over 80 percent of the new cases came from recently-arrived locally stranded individuals (LSIs) while 11 percent were local cases.
Previously, Negros Occidental imposed rapid antigen testing on all new arrivals at the Bacolod-Silay Airport and at the Bredco Port in Bacolod City originating from areas under Alert Level 3.
Some 220 travelers were found “reactive” during the rapid antigen test, while 120 would later test positive for COVID-19 after undergoing confirmatory reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction tests. (RT-PCR).
Majority of the travelers were also noted to be asymptomatic.
Tumimbang said it is possible that a lot of travelers whom they suspect to be “reactive” could have already entered the province in December.
“Yes [this is alarming], because coming from eight [cases] nag 100+ ta eh, in just a matter of days?” Tumimbang pointed out.
Tumimbang said with the increase in new cases, the PHO is checking if hospitals in the province are also noticing an increase in severe cases, although so far there hasn’t been any report of such and there are also no reported new fatalities over the past few days.
“We have an increase in cases, pero ang point dira is how many of these cases ang nag-severe kag nagkadto sa ospital ta? This is one area of concern nga tan-awon ta if our [vaccination program] is doing fine. So far I think it’s doing fine,” said Tumimbang./PN