IN URDANETA, SAN NICOLAS, UMINGAN
PANGASINAN is bracing for a renewed upsurge of COVID-19 after three cases of the more transmissible strain of the virus, the B.1.1.7 or the UK variant, were detected while another suspected UK variant and the more lethal South African variant are being investigated in different towns.
According to a report of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) which was confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH) the three cases of UK variants were detected in Urdaneta City and the towns of San Nicolas and Umingan but the patients have already been tested negative.
However, all three patients who completed their 14-day quarantine are still under strict observation and monitoring by the PHO and DOH.
The first B.22.214.171.124 variant or UK variant was detected from a 27-year-old male Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Urdaneta City who came from Dubai and who was declared COVID-19 positive on January 18.
The result from the Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) of his specimens that showed he had the UK variant of COVID-19 was confirmed on March 5. The two close contacts had tested negative in their Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
The other two UK variants were detected on two women—a 65-year-old from San Nicolas and a 57-year-old from Umingan, town’s Case No. 35 who reportedly had no history of travel whatsoever.
Dr. Anna de Guzman, provincial health officer, said the patient from San Nicolas was found positive for COVID-19 on February 18 and the result of the Genome Sequencing on her specimens was received by the Department of Health only March 12.
While the woman reportedly has no history of travel, she often went to the market and attended mass in the church in her town regularly.
All the 83 persons she had mingled with, including her relatives, tested negative for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the patient from Umingan, was found positive for coronavirus on March 3 but the result of the WGS of the woman’s samples was released by the UP-Philippine Genome Center to the DOH only on March 19.
Umingan Mayor Michael Carleone Cruz confirmed that the woman was positive for the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant.
Meanwhile, another possible case of UK variant and South African variant or N501Y variant are currently being investigated in two towns.
De Guzman said that while only the UK variant has been recorded in the province for now, she expects additional cases in the future.
“We are not removing the possibility na maaaring magkaroon ng ibang variant dito sa atin. Lahat ng nagpo-positive na cases sa atin, ipinapa-genome testing na natin”, she said even as she warned that genome sequencing results are delayed because of the volume of tests being submitted.
De Guzman renewed her call to the residents to strictly observe the health and safety protocol issued by the DOH and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases. (Leonardo Micua/Ahikam Pasion)
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