The Philippines is bracing itself for the threat of the Delta variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), amid the feared possibility of another surge of infections due to the highly transmissible coronavirus variant.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country needs to increase its medical oxygen supply in preparation for the possible spike in infections following the detection of local cases of Delta variant.
“Tayo po ay nagpre-prepare for this Delta variant. Sabi nga natin it’s just a matter of time bago makapasok (We are preparing for this Delta variant. As we have said, it’s just a matter of time before it enters),” Vergeire said in an interview over TeleRadyo on Monday, July 19.
“Mula nang pumutok ang mga kaso sa India with regards to this Delta variant, nag-umpisa na ang ating gobyerno na makapag preposition tayo at makapaghanda dito (Ever since the cases surged in India with regards to this Delta variant, our government has begun prepositioning and preparing for it),” she added.
The health official said the Department of Health (DOH) conducted an inventory of oxygen supply in the country, and coordinated with oxygen manufacturers to produce more supply.
“Currently our existing oxygen supply is sufficient but we need to add additional so that we can be more prepared,” Vergeire said.
“Our hospitals are now guided that they should be expanding their beds already. Our local governments have been guided also they should intensify their PDITR (Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate) response,” she added.
India was first hit by a devastating wave of infections due to the highly contagious Delta variant, which resulted to numerous deaths following a shortage of oxygen supply.
The Health department announced last week the detection of 16 new cases of the Delta variant, 11 of which were considered as local cases.
Vergeire said the 11 local cases were detected in Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Metro Manila, and Central Luzon.
Prone to hospitalization
The DOH official explained that the probability of hospitalization for patients infected with the variant is higher, noting that the variant is more transmissible.
“The probability of getting hospitalized when you get the variant is higher. ‘Yun ang ebidensya na mas transmissible talaga siya (That’s the evidence that its actually more transmissible),” she said.
With this, the public has been urged to be more cautious and observe the minimum public health standards to prevent getting infected.
“Kailangan lang na tayo ay (We just need to be) very cautious. Kailangan din na ipatupad ang protocol natin (We also need to implement our protocols) for isolation and quarantine of close contacts and those turning positive,” Vergeire said.
“Dahil hindi naman natin magagawa talaga na ma-sequence ang lahat ng mga nagpo-positibo dito sa ating bansa. So we should always assume. Kailangan talagang intensified itong ating mga protocols na pinapatupad (Because we can’t really sequence all the positives in the country. So we should always assume. There is really a need to intensify the protocols being implemented),” she added.