Ilocos Norte conducts aggressive contact tracing after new COVID-19 variants found
The Task Force Salun-at is undertaking a more aggressive contact tracing in the province following the report that six (6) cases of highly infectious COVID-19 variants were detected in the province on April 18, 2021.
In Laoag City, three (3) new variant cases were discovered, with one each in Solsona, Paoay, and San Nicolas. Five (5) have been recovered, while one has succumbed to COVID-19.
To date, the province’s Contact Tracing Team has already identified 300 primary and secondary contacts of these patients.
“We are doing some more contact tracing by following the DOH (Department of Health) guidelines on how to deal with new variants. We are currently finding the third generation contacts of the 6 cases, who will be subjected to swab testing and isolation,” Dr. Norman Rabago, Provincial Health Consultant, said.
While the UK variant and the South African variant are seven times more transmissible than the non-variant, there is no evidence that these mutant strains are linked to worse disease outcomes.
Meanwhile, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc pushes for a “localized and targeted” lockdown as increased quarantine classification in the whole province may hurt the communities and the economy.
“Certainly, we considered a heightened quarantine level. However, after studying our cases, it seems that the vast majority of the new cases are still within the lockdown areas. In Metro Manila and even in the whole world, wide-scale lockdown is not recommended because it is not completely effective in stopping the transmission of the virus. There are also negative consequences in the community,” he remarked.
To speed up the province’s contact tracing, Fire Major Roxanne Parado urged patients and possible contacts to submit themselves for swab testing and complete the Case Investigation Form honestly:
“Hindi po sinasabi ng mga index cases natin na may travel history sila. Kaya noong nag-back tracing or retracing kami, doon lang nila (new variant cases) binanggit na member of the family ang may travel history. Napaka-challenging talaga kasi wala tayong ibang pagtatanungan as of the contacts or travel history kung hindi rin lang naman ang mga index cases.”
Governor Manotoc also reiterated to the public anew of the importance of following safety protocols, “I hope we don’t get tired of all the safety measures that we have been practicing for so long. We have made it this far fairly well at sana ituloy lang natin.”— Blessing Angel V. Agliam, PGIN-CMO