At least 615 close contacts of 13 COVID-19 cases infected with the UK variant of coronavirus in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have undergone testing, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was referring to the 13 UK variant cases in the region, 12 of which 12 are in Bontoc, Mountain Province, and one of which is in La Trinidad, Benguet.
“Our teams in the CAR found 615 close contacts. First, second and third generation close contacts of those who were positive for the UK variant,” Vergeire said in Filipino.
Vergeire, however, said that it is too early to say if there is community transmission of the UK variant of the coronavirus.
“We are still checking because there were eight OFWs who went home. We are just awaiting the RT-PCR test results of these people so that we could see the details of where they came from,” she said.
As of 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, DOH-CAR reported 1,395 total active cases among 11,365 total cases. Baguio City has the most active cases in the region with 544, followed by Mountain Province with 266, Benguet with 260 and Kalinga with 190.
Baguio also turned in 20 new cases on Wednesday, followed by Benguet with 19 and Mountain Province with 16.
Vergeire said that samples from the close contacts of those who tested positive for UK variant, as well as those in areas where there is clustering of COVID-19 cases such as communities, jails and hospitals treating moderate and severe COVID-19 patients, have been subjected to genome sequencing by the Philippine Genome Center to determine if they are also infected with the UK variant.
“We are doing this right now, and by Thursday or Friday we could already have the results,” Vergeire said.
The DOH earlier announced that 38 of the close contacts of 13 COVID-19 cases infected with the UK variant of the coronavirus tested positive for COVID-19.
It also said the UK variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 17 COVID-19 patients, including the index case, the 29-year-old male in Quezon City, who was the first to be identified as having the UK variant.
Of the said 17, 12 are in Bontoc, Mountain Province, one in La Trinidad, Benguet province, one in Calamba, Laguna province, one in Binangonan, Rizal province, and one in Iloilo province.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday traced the last two fellow passengers and close contacts of the first Filipino in the country to test positive for the UK variant of the coronavirus.
According to GMA’s “24 Oras,” the NBI found the 60-year-old close contact, an American national, in Silang, Cavite. He was with his Filipino fiancée.
NBI-NCR regional director Cesar Bacani said the couple live in Cavite.
The NBI immediately contacted the DOH Region 4A to formally turn over the couple to them.
The last contact, meanwhile, was traced by the NBI to Cotabato City.
The NBI said the patient has been brought to a quarantine facility and was scheduled for a PCR test on Tuesday.
On Jan. 22, the Department of Justice ordered the NBI to help the DOH find the last two close contacts.