Eight cases of the more transmissible Delta variant tested positive after retesting, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the cases remain asymptomatic but must complete the 14-day isolation period.
Of the eight, four were detected in Cagayan de Oro, one each in Manila and Misamis Oriental, and two are returning overseas Filipinos.
Vergeire said the cases were initially reported to have recovered from the disease after completing the 14-day quarantine period and showing no symptoms. However, people who have contracted the variants must be tested again for COVID-19 following DOH protocol, she said.
“When we look closely at these cases, almost all of them have high CT (cycle threshold) value, indicating a low viral load and therefore most likely they are no longer infectious,” Vergeire said in an online briefing.
“But their RT-PCR was positive so we needed to quarantine them again or isolate them again and we will closely monitor them,” she added.
Vergeire said 91 contacts have been traced for the 16 “recent” Delta cases as of Monday. She said the eight contacts were traced in the National Capital Region, 46 from returning overseas Filipinos, 10 in Region 6, and 27 in Region 10.
“Our [contact] tracing is ongoing,” she said.
Vergeire said two of the three fatalities (78-year-old female from Antique and 58-year-old from Manila) were unvaccinated. The DOH is still verifying the vaccination status of the third fatality (63-year-old male and crew member of the MV Athens Bridge).
The DOH earlier urged the public to continue adhering to health protocols against COVID-19 and stressed that vaccines remain effective even against variants.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has also directed local government units to enhance contact tracing efforts and ensure transparency in reporting variant cases.
On Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines may have to reimpose stricter restrictions after the DOH confirmed the incidence of local cases of the Delta variant.
The DOH has reported 35 Delta variant cases, of which, 11 are local cases. Three deaths have been recorded.
Also due to the Delta variant, Metro Manila mayors are urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to suspend, in the capital region, the policy allowing children five years old and above to go outside.
The government previously allowed children aged five and above to go outdoors in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ.
Earlier, the OCTA Research team urged the government to reimpose the bubble policy over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, or NCR Plus, due to the Delta variant. —KBK, GMA News