COVID variants climb to 165 in Western Visayas

KALIBO, Aklan–The Department of Health (DOH) reported 165 confirmed cases of COVD-19 variants in Western Visayas as of August 5, 2021, of which about a fourth or 25% were the Delta strain.

Of the 42 Delta cases, six were returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 36 were local cases, most of whom had addresses in Antique and Iloilo provinces.

Twenty-two people in Antique province have acquired the Delta variant, 10 in Iloilo province, six in Iloilo City, and four in Capiz.

The Delta mutation (B.1.617.2) is highly contagious and leads to increased transmissibility compared to other COVID-19 variants. Originally discovered in India, it is said to cause more severe illness especially in unvaccinated individuals, and is driving the surge in COVID infections across the United States and the UK.

OTHER VARIANTS

Also in the region, 15 people were found infected with the Theta (P.3) variant, of which 13 were local cases. Negros Occidental had five cases, while Aklan, Antique, Iloilo provinces, and Iloilo City had two cases each; Bacolod City and Guimaras province had one each.

Beta variant (B.1.351) cases, on the other hand, are now at 54. Of the cases, 11 were ROFs and 43 were local.

Iloilo province has the highest number of Beta cases with 28, followed by Capiz and Negros Occidental with five cases each, Aklan and Guimaras with four cases each,  Iloilo City with three, Bacolod City with two, and Antique province with one case.

The Beta variant was first identified in South Africa last year. Despite its wide reach, the variant is not as prevalent as Delta.

A case of Gamma variant (P.1) was also detected in Iloilo province, the DOH said.

There were 53 people infected with the Alpha variant in the region. Of the cases detected, 39 were local and 14 were ROFs. Iloilo province had 19 cases, while 15 people in Antique had the strain.

Negros Occidental, Iloilo City, and Guimaras recorded five cases of Alpha, while Bacolod City had two cases, and Aklan and Capiz had one case each.

All variants were detected through genome sequencing undertaken by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center.

AKLAN AT MODERATE RISK FOR COVID-19

The COVID-19 risk level classification of the province of Aklan was downgraded to moderate risk, according to the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) on August 9, 2021.

The two-week growth rate in cases went down by -7 percent from 2,136 cases of the previous two weeks (July 9 to 22) as compared to 1,981 cases in the recent two weeks (July 23 to August 5).

The average daily attack rate per 100,000 population in Aklan also improved from 24.97 percent in the previous two weeks to 23.16 percent in the recent two weeks.

Despite these numbers, however, the health care utilization rate of Aklan is still at 66.53 percent, which is considered moderate risk. A high of 85.84 percent of COVID ward beds (97 out of 113) was occupied, while 21 isolation beds out of 42, and 37 out of 58 intensive care unit beds were utilized.

DOH-6 also noted the clustering of cases in Kalibo, Makato, Ibajay, and Numancia.

REGION-WIDE STATISTICS

As of August 8, the region logged a cumulative total of 89,539 confirmed cases including 10,420 active infections and 2,052 deaths.

At least 72 percent of intensive care unit COVID beds were utilized while 52 percent of isolation beds were occupied. Western Visayas also registered 600 average daily cases in July compared to 633 cases in June.

The province of Antique fell under the high-risk category, while Bacolod City and the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental were deemed low risk.

Aside from Aklan, the highly urbanized city of Iloilo is also tagged as moderate risk.

Finally, just 14 percent or 703,710 of the eligible population in the region have received the two doses against the coronavirus, according to data from the regional vaccination center. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)

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