Western Visayas (WV) remains free from the new variant of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, according to Department of Health 6 (DOH-6) spokesperson, Dr. Mary Jane Juanico.
Juanico made the clarification yesterday as the public and even local officials are having doubts that there might be a presence already of the new variant that causes sudden surges of the cases in the region.
However, Juanico noted that Western Visayas COVID-19 laboratories have sent 47 specimens to the Philippine Genome Center for new variant determination.
She noted that there were two cases of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who tested positive for the new variant but were detected while they were still in Manila.
These OFWs underwent quarantine while in Manila and already have negative RT-PCR test results before they were allowed to return home to the region, she added.
“As of now wala pa kita evidence that a new variant has hit Region 6 particularly Bacolod City and Negros Occidental,” said Juanico.
Based on the DOH-6 data, the region is recording 257 average cases of COVID-19 this April.
This is three times higher compared to 84 daily average recorded in March.
As of yesterday, WV logged 195 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total cumulative cases in the region to 32,348, of which 4,263 are active.
Juanico noted that Negros Occidental is now considered as high risk area for COVID-19 while Antique, Bacolod City, Capiz, and Iloilo City are on moderate risk.
The DOH-6 warned that the COVID-19 cases in the region continue to rise at a faster rate and may still peak until mid to third week of April.
Of the 4,263 total active cases in the region, almost half or 2,073 came from Negros Occidental, 665 from Bacolod City, 501 from Antique, 427 from Iloilo province, 265 from Iloilo City, 169 from Aklan, 151 from Capiz, and 12 from Guimaras.
Iloilo and Negros Occidental provinces are sustaining its high number of cases.
“Ang sa Bacolod naton although wala pa naton nakita ang paglagpas sang peak niya compared to the last year cases, makita naton nga nagapasaka man ang number of cases and if without intervention in place, these cases might also increase,” Juanico explained.
She further noted that of the eight provinces and highly urbanized cities in WV, only Iloilo City has maintained/sustained its number of cases at the minimum level./WDJ