A Department of Health official said Saturday that a local transmission of the Delta coronavirus variant has yet to be confirmed, and that an intensive contact-tracing effort should be done.
In an interview on Dobol B TV, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire distinguished the difference between local cases and local transmission.
A local case means the variant was detected from an individual who was not classified as a returning overseas Filipino (ROF), she said.
Meanwhile, local transmission means there’s evidence that the cases of COVID-19 in a community are linked together.
“Sa ngayon ‘di pa nade-determine ‘yan [local transmission] kaya tayo gumagawa ng intensive contact tracing” (We still need to determine if there is already local transmission, that’s why we are doing intensive contact tracing), she said.
Nevertheless, Vergeire said there is a need to determine the origin of the local cases of Delta variant.
“It might be a breach in protocol [at the] border, kaya may nakapasok at nahawaan ang ibang tao sa komunidad" (thus, a carrier got through and transmitted the virus to other people in the community), she said.
In another interview on Dobol B TV, infectious disease expert, Dr. Rontgene Solante, highlighted the importance of contact tracing to avert further transmission of the Delta variant.
“Napaka-importante ngayon ng contact tracing para ma-trace ang mga nakasalumuha ng mga nagpositibo sa Delta variant,” he said.
He advised the public to be more cautious as there were reported local cases in various regions across the country.
Solante agreed with the DOH that local transmission cannot be declared yet as the contacts of the COVID-19 patients detected with the Delta variant are yet to be traced.
“Mag-ingat tayo sa definition ng local transmisson. We only define local transmission kung na-document na natin at confirmed na ang secondary contact nitong nakikita ngayon ay nahawaan, at ang contact nila ay nahawaan din. So kabit-kabit na transmission. Dun na natin makikitaan ng local transmisison,” he said.
(We should be careful in the definition of local transmission. We can say that there is local transmission if we have documented and confirmed that the secondary contacts of those who tested positive for variant also contracted the virus. If the cases are linked to each other, then we can already say that it is local transmission.)
“At this point, malamang hintayin ang tests ng secondary and tertiary contacts ng primary contact” (Now, we are still waiting for the results of the COVID-19 tests of the secondary and tertiary contacts), he added.
On Friday, the Department of Health reported 16 new COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, and of the number, 11 are considered as local cases.
Out of the 11 local cases, two were detected in Metro Manila, six in region 10, two in Region 6 and one was tested in Metro Manila but has an address sin Region 3.
The Philippines recorded 1,496,328 total COVID-19 cases, after the DOH reported 5,676 new infections on Friday afternoon. —LBG/KG, GMA News