Six more new cases of coronavirus disease were recorded in Catanduanes over the past week as the Department of Health reiterated to the public the importance of observing the minimum health standards.
The new cases brought the total of those have gotten sick of COVID-19 to 222 as of Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Three cases from San Andres town were reported on March 16: Patient Bicol #5022, an asymptomatic 11-year old boy from Belmonte who was exposed to his 42-year old father, Patient #5023, a purchaser of an island drug store chain who had colds, loss of sense of smell and dizziness on March 8 and was isolated; and, #5024, a 30-year old female pharmacy assistant from Alibuag who had colds on March 5 and was isolated.
On March 20, the other three cases were reported: #5112, a 55-year old housewife from Divino Rostro, San Andres, who had traveled from Legazpi City on March 11, was asymptomatic and isolated; #5113, a 25-year old male farmer from Salvacion, Virac, who was asymptomatic and was isolated at a quarantine facility; and, #5114, a 40-year old construction worker also from Salvacion, Virac, who was noted to have colds on March 15 and was isolated at a quarantine facility.
The Rural Health Unit of Virac is still establishing the history of exposure of the two Salvacion cases.
Of the 222 total cases in the province, 194 have recovered from the disease while 23 are considered active cases, with five deaths so far.
Eighty-seven of the cases are male while 135 are female
Eighteen of the active cases are asymptomatic while five have mild symptoms, the Provincial Health Office said.
The distribution of the active cases (with total cases in parentheses) is as follows: Viga, 9 (17); Virac, 5 (124), San Andres, 4 (17); Bato, 3 (20); Pandan, 1 (11); and, Caramoran, 1 (4).
The towns without active cases are Baras (8 total cases), Panganiban (7), San Miguel (6), Gigmoto (4), and Bagamanoc (4).
Health authorities said it is too early to attribute the recent spike in new cases to the presence of coronavirus variant in the province.
Department of Health (DOH) provincial officer Dr. Robert John Aquino stated recently that a team will have to revalidate the genome sequencing of recent cases to find out if it is a COVID variant.
“We are not practicing what we need to do with regards to the observance of minimum public health protocols,” he had remarked, adding that the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit will look at the implementation of the health protocols by local government units.
Last week, the DOH Bicol Center for Health Development reiterated the importance of observing the minimum public health standards following the issuance of Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution No. 101 on the guidelines on travel and quarantine protocols and the upcoming Holy Week.
The updated travel guidelines from the IATF, wherein travelers from other regions are no longer required to undergo quarantine and COVID-19 testing, unless required by the LGU of destination, is more likely to result to a large number of individuals from other regions in the country to return to Bicol, it said.
Hence, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the region, the public is urged to strictly practice the minimum public health standards, or the BIDA Solusyon Plus – “Bawal walang face mask at face shield; I-sanitize ang mga kamay at iwasan ang kulob na lugar; Dumistansya ng isang metro at limitahan ang pisikal na interaksyon sa iba; and Alamin ang tamang impormasyon, plus suportahan ang FDA approved na bakuna.”
The DOH also enjoined the LGUs to profile and screen incoming travelers for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and recommend appropriate quarantine/isolation measures based on existing guidelines for the prevention and management of COVID-19 in the region.