TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas has recorded on Thursday the highest new coronavirus disease 2019 cases in a single day this year, just a day after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the presence of UK variant in the region.
The DOH regional office recorded 276 new cases on Thursday out of the 1,336 samples examined by the three testing laboratories in the region and the Philippine Red Cross testing facility in Cebu City.
Of the 276 new patients, 44 are from Tacloban City, 96 from Leyte, 32 from Ormoc City, 21 from Southern Leyte, 27 from Northern Samar, 15 from Eastern Samar, 21 from Samar, and 20 from Biliran province.
With the new infections, the region’s total cases climbed to 21,452, including 19,733 recoveries, and 324 deaths. There are still 1,395 active cases in six provinces and seven cities in the region.
“The increasing trend of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the region is still attributed to the increased mobility of the people due to reduced travel restrictions, and the complacency to the minimum health and safety protocols when in public areas,” DOH Eastern Visayas regional director Exuperia Sabalberino said in a press briefing.
With this sudden surge of cases, the major Covid-19 referral hospital in the region has reached its full-bed capacity.
Currently, there are referrals of 40 Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms that were not accepted due to the limited capacity of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, the region’s biggest hospital based in this city.
Meanwhile, the DOH confirmed on Wednesday that four samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) turned positive for the UK variant of Covid-19.
The region has been sending samples to PGC since September last year, but this is the first that a sample from the region was found positive for a variant of concern.
Two of the four carriers of Covid-19 UK variants are from Catubig, Northern Samar identified as locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from Metro Manila.
They both recovered, according to Marc Steven Capungcol, head of the DOH regional epidemiology and surveillance unit.
“There is zero chances of transmission in Catubig because they do not have close contact since the two are immediately isolated when they arrived,” Capungcol told reporters.
The two other patients are from Calbayog City, initially classified as LSIs.
A surveillance team is now in Calbayog City to investigate the two carriers of a variant of concern.
“We have been focusing our investigation in Calbayog City due to the sudden increase of cases in the area that might be connected to the UK variant,” he added. (PNA)