DAVAO CITY – The two additional cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant or B.1.617.2 here were exposed to an index case in their respective households, according to a local health official.
Dr. Michelle Schlosser, focal person for the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, said that the two patients – a 47-year-old male and a 36-year-old female – were both swabbed on the same day last July 7 after they came in direct contact with a positive case.
Their specimens were in the batch of samples submitted by the region last July 15 to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) in Quezon City and results of the genome sequencing came out on the same day last July 29.
Although both cases were swabbed and their specimens submitted to UP-PGC on the same dates, Schlosser clarified in a text message Tuesday that the cases did not share the same household nor were they from the same health district.
Schlosser said all close contacts of the male patient in his household and community tested negative for the infection but one of the household members of the female patient turned out positive for COVID-19.
She said they have yet to determine if the specimen of the patient could meet the criteria to qualify for genome sequencing, particularly the ones with a Cycle Threshold value of less than 30.
The Cycle Threshold indicates low viral load and entails the need for re-swabbing to secure samples for sequencing, according to DOH.
“From now on, if the case falls within the criteria of Cycle Threshold, we will be treating that case as Delta, so that we can contact trace and isolate the close contacts outright even if the result of the genome sequencing has not yet been released since its turnaround time takes a while,” she said.
She said it will help mitigate the risk of spreading Delta variant.
The male and female cases, who were asymptomatic, had fully recovered and were discharged from isolation last July 19 and July 21, respectively. The male patient received his first dose of Sinovac while the female was unvaccinated.
She said contract tracing teams were deployed to retrace the close contacts of both cases for repeat swabbing and quarantine.
“The retracing of close contacts is ongoing. Once identified, the quarantine for close contacts of the Delta variant case is mandatory whether F1, F1, or F3,” she said.
She said the detection of the additional cases of the more virulent COVID-19 variant could be considered as a community transmission already, “given that these individuals have no history of travel.” The recent cases brought the total to three in the city and four in Davao region, including the first Delta case reported in Tagum City.
Aside from the threat of Delta, the region also reported new additional variants of concern cases, including 48 cases of Alpha or B.1.1.7 and 128 cases of Beta or B.1.351. Of this total, Davao City logged 15 cases of Alpha and 73 cases of Beta; Davao del Sur, five Beta; Davao del Norte, 30 Alpha and 41 Beta; Davao de Oro, two Alpha and seven Beta; and Davao Oriental, one Alpha and two Beta.