DUMAGUETE CITY - Health authorities in Negros Oriental are appealing to residents, especially senior citizens and young children, to stay at home to stem the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as cases in Negros Oriental have risen exponentially in the past three weeks.
Assistant Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Liland Estacion, in a virtual presser on Wednesday afternoon, said the rapid increase in active infections is becoming a concern in the province and is most likely due to the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
"From a low of 24 active cases at the start of the year, we now have a total of 434, and that's just within a three-week period," Estacion said in mixed English and Cebuano.
This does not even reflect the active cases that are not reported to health authorities, including those asymptomatic or symptomatic under home quarantine but are undocumented, she said.
While the Provincial Health Office is awaiting the results of 50 specimens sent to the Philippine Genome Center for Omicron testing, Estacion said she believes the variant is causing the fast spread of the coronavirus in the province.
She reported 198 new active cases on January 15, 17, and 18. The figures began to triple on January 10 when 63 infections were reported.
Estacion, who is the Covid-19 incident commander of the province's Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), appealed to the people to coordinate with their local or barangay health authorities for assessment at the onset of symptoms.
Being documented will help health authorities monitor cases while contact tracing will be more efficient, she said.
She again called on the unvaccinated to get themselves inoculated against Covid-19 as an added layer of protection, saying the local government units, the hospitals, and the Macias Sports Center are administering doses and even accommodating walk-ins.
Senior citizens, young children, and those with co-morbidities must stay at home because once a family member is infected, the tendency is for the entire household to also contract the disease, she added.
As of January 19, the total caseload in Negros Oriental stood at 20,248, broken down into 19,144 recoveries, 434 active cases, and 670 deaths.
This capital city has the highest number of active cases at 158, while others have two-digit or zero infections.
Negros Oriental is under Alert Level 3 until the end of the month. (PNA)