The number of new COVID-19 cases in the province of Catanduanes last week stayed the same at just four cases.
But the week covering the period Feb. 28-Mar. 4 started with one death, a 92-year-old woman from Virac who succumbed to coronavirus complications on Feb. 28 and was buried within 12 hours.
The three other cases were two women in their mid-20s from Caramoran and Bagamanoc, and a newborn baby girl in Caramoran, possibly the child of one of the women.
This led to the drop of active cases to just four as of Saturday morning, two in Caramoran and one each in Pandan and Bagamanoc.
The other eight towns, including Virac, had no active cases, a most welcome development for recovering local economy.
Ninety percent of the target population of 221,626 have already received at least one dose of the vaccine while 74 percent of them or 165,079 are fully vaccinated (representing 60% of the total population of the island).
Among the 11 towns, Baras has the highest vax rate at 83% followed by Virac at 81% and Panganiban and Gigmoto at 80%. At the low end are Caramoran with 62% and Pandan with just 60%.
Those who have received booster shots, however, are less than 27,000 individuals or just 12 percent of the target population.
The high vaccination rate of the province has most likely helped it survive the COVID surge that began in the last months of 2021.
A recent report of the Department of Health (DOH) showed that Catanduanes’ first four (4) cases involving the highly transmissible Omicron variant were detected on Feb. 11, 2022.
Considering that the testing of selected specimens at the Philippine Genome Center takes two weeks to a month, the Omicron variant of the virus was probably circulating in the island as early as December.
By March 2, nine new ones were added, bringing the total Omicron cases to 13.
In contrast, there were no more new cases of the previous variants, with the island recording eight (8) Alpha cases, 17 Beta cases and 138 Delta cases.
The good news as far as the pandemic is concerned has spilled over to the transportation and food service sectors.
Buses bound for the island are reportedly full of travelers returning from Metro Manila, no doubt encouraged by the relaxed border controls, which require only the vaccination card and an ID card.
Cebu Pacific Airways is bringing back daily flights using the jetprop.
A check of the website shows daily flights beginning March 29 although there are reports that this would start on March 13.
On the other hand, local restaurants and bars have been enjoying brisk business since the March 1 implementation of Alert Level 1.
Let us pray that only a few new cases are found in the next week so that this atmosphere of relative freedom, save for the face mask, would continue after March 15 and extend until the pandemic is over.
Oplan Baklas, which was supposed to be conducted March 4, 2022, was reset after Catanduanes’ provincial election supervisor, Atty. Alberto Cañares, swapped places with Sorsogon’s Atty. Francis Nieves.
With the police awaiting guidance from COMELEC, the operation to remove illegal posters along main highways had to be postponed, according to a Camp Camacho official.
ON CHILDBIRTH. A boy was assigned a paper on childbirth and asked his parents, “How was I born?”
‘Well honey…’ said the slightly prudish parent,
“An Angel brought you to us.”
“Oh,” said the boy.
“Well, how did you and daddy get born?” he asked.
“Oh, the angel brought us too.”
“Well how were grandpa and grandma born?” he persisted.
“Well darling, the angel brought them too!” said the parent.
Several days later, the boy handed in his paper to the teacher who read with confusion the opening sentence:
“This report has been very difficult to write because there hasn’t been a natural childbirth in my family for three generations.”