By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) confirmed yesterday that the city has recorded its first case of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to EOC Executive Director Em Ang, the patient is a 38-year-old male cruise ship crew, who is now placed in isolation while awaiting the result of his RT-PCR test.
Based on the patient’s travel history, he arrived last December 15, 2021 in Metro Manila from Miami, Florida in the United States of America.
The patient was immediately brought to a quarantine hotel in Manila and underwent RT-PCR test on December 19.
He later got his result on December 20, wherein he had tested positive for COVID-19, although he was reported to be asymptomatic.
The patient would complete his quarantine period and traveled to Bacolod City last December 31 and was again placed in a quarantine hotel in the city as his country of origin is under a “red list.”
On Saturday, January 1, the patient’s genome sequencing result was released and it was confirmed that he had the Omicron variant.
The patient is reported to be a resident of Pampanga, however, he traveled to Bacolod because his wife is a resident of the city.
Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical services of the Bacolod City EOC, meanwhile, assured the public that the patient had never gotten out of the quarantine hotel in the city and he has been tagged as “recovered” when he traveled to the city.
Sorongon is also urging everyone to get vaccinated, while those who have already completed their vaccination should get a booster shot.
He also advised the public not to panic and continue following the minimum health protocols such as proper wearing of face masks, regular hand washing or sanitizing, and observing physical distancing.
The EOC is also continuing its monitoring as the Department of Health is now expecting a surge in COVID-19 cases following the Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations./DGB, WDJ