Issue of January 10, 2021
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With or w/o new strain:
Public vigilance on COVID-19 urged
by Jane B. Cadalig

The absence of a new variant of the Covid-19 in the country should not be a reason for the public to be complacent, a senior health official said.

DOH-Cordillera Director Ruby Constantino said the virus that causes the Covid-19 remains and the public should not let their guards down.

With or without the new Covid-19 variant, Constantino has reiterated DOH’s strategies against the infection, which are wearing of face masks and shields, frequent hand washing, practicing social distancing, avoiding enclosed spaces, and limiting interaction with others to 15 minutes.

“These remains the best measures to minimize opportunities for infection,” Constantino said.

With the threat of the new Covid-19 variant that has now affected 27 countries, Constantino called on vulnerable groups, especially senior citizens with existing illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, to avoid going out and for people living with the elders to be extra careful.

“Senior citizens should stay at home and those who are living with them should also be careful to avoid infecting the elders in their households,” she said.

She added those experiencing the Covid-19 symptoms should seek early consultation.

The DOH is also pushing for facility-based isolation of those who contracted the virus.

The new Covid-19 variant is said to be 70 percent more contagious or transmissible.

Constantino said there is no information yet if there are additional symptoms specific to the new variant.

As of Jan. 7, the Cordillera recorded 8,483 Covid-19 cases with 115 deaths. Of the total cases, 543 are active or those who are admitted in hospitals or isolation facilities.

In Baguio City, Mayor Benjamin Magalong has asked medical practitioners and health experts to find ways to prevent more deaths caused directly or indirectly by the virus.

Magalong sounded the call following data from the City Health Services Office that showed the number of Covid-19-related deaths had drastically increased from the second week of December last year to the first five days this year.

The CHSO reported that from the 48 reported deaths in the city as of Dec. 14, 2020, the number increased to 71 as of Jan. 5, or an average of one death a day in the past three weeks raising the city’s Covid-19 mortality rate to 1.77 percent.

Baguio remains to have the highest number of cases with 4,064 with 71 deaths followed by Benguet with 3,313 with 37 deaths.

Kalinga logged 589 cases with two deaths; Abra, 139 with two deaths; Ifugao, 131 with one death; Apayao, 85 with one death; and Mountain Province, 16 cases with one death.

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