COVID-19 variant may be behind surge of cases in Aklan

PHOTO CAPTION: While the Aklan provincial government is anticipating a “worst-case scenario”, it is not about to be caught unprepared even as a new variant is suspected to be behind the surging COVID-19 cases in the province that’s closely hitting the 3,000-mark. Photo above taken at a swabbing center in Kalibo./iNEWS

KALIBO, Aklan–The staggering surge of coronavirus cases may be associated with a ‘new variant’ in the province of Aklan.

This was the conjecture of Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, who said it seems a transmissible variant of the deadly virus may be behind the recent spike in the virus cases.

COVID variants are detected through genome sequencing of samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center.

According to the latest data, Aklan has 615 active cases and 70 deaths, with its seven-day (June 4 to 11) average of daily Aklan infections shooting up to 65, compared to 41 from May 24 to June 3.

In the two weeks leading up to June 11, Kalibo had the highest infections with 116. Other hotspots include Ibajay with 109 cases and Malay, reportedly with 88 new infections.

Balete had 27 cases, Batan with 47, New Washington with 40, and Altavas, 42.

“Sa tingin ko may variant tayo dito dahil mabilis ang transmission ng virus. Tumaas ang mga kaso in June and May; very alarming ang situation [I think we have a variant here based on how fast transmission of the virus has been. The cases rose in June and May; it’s a very alarming situation],” Miraflores said in a radio interview on June 10.

However, despite the grim statistics, the province health care utilization for coronavirus cases is still within manageable levels, unlike in other provinces in the region that are experiencing high occupancy rates in the hospitals.

Still, health authorities advise against complacency or waiting for the health care system to be overwhelmed before putting sufficient measures in place.

To this, Miraflores said, “We are buying additional medicines and equipment in anticipation (of an overwhelmed health care system). Manageable pa ang health care utilization compared sa ibang provinces, but we would like to prevent it from getting worse.”

Earlier, on June 8, the provincial government heightened the restrictions under its modified general community quarantine status in an attempt to better manage the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Miraflores also advised people from “all walks of life” to continue using face masks and observing health safety guidelines. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)

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