Bacolod detects 1st Omicron case

Published January 4, 2022, 1:30 PM

by Glazyl Masculino

BACOLOD CITY — The city government here is strengthening its borders, following the detection of first case of Omicron variant of COVID-19 here and in Western Visayas.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia confirmed on late Monday night that a returning overseas Filipino (ROF), who turned out positive for the Omicron variant based on his genome sequencing result, has slipped through the city on Dec. 31, 2021.

But, despite this, the mayor stressed that Bacolodnons need not be alarmed, since medical experts from Department of Health (DOH)-Western Visayas and the Emergency Operations Center-Task Force (EOC-TF), said the 38-year old ROF, has already recovered from the virus.

The ROF is a cruise ship crew member, who had his RT-PCR test in Florida, USA on Dec. 12 that yielded negative result.

The following day, he traveled from Miami to New York, where he started his 15-hour journey to Manila.

Two days later, the ROF arrived in Manila on Dec. 15 and checked in at an OWWA-accredited quarantine facility in Malate.

On Dec. 17, he developed symptoms, specifically sore throat, cough and colds. Two days later, he underwent the mandatory RT-PCR test required on the fifth day after arrival, and he was already symptomatic.

On Dec. 20, his RT-PCR yielded positive result. Four days later, the ROF was transferred to another OWWA isolation facility for positive patients in Malate.

On Dec. 31, he was released by the doctor from isolation at the facility, saying he had already fully recovered. He was then allowed to board his Manila to Bacolod flight and was fetched by his wife at the Bacolod-Silay airport in Silay City, Negros Occidental.

No RT-PCR test was done on the ROF, prior to his release from the isolation facility in Malate, according to Dr. Rosalie Deocampo, EOC-TF cluster head for contact-tracing.

Deocampo said the recovery was based on clinical basis, meaning he was already asymptomatic since Dec. 20 until Dec. 31 when he was released and was then allowed to be on a sweeper flight for Bacolod.

The genome sequencing result which confirmed the Omicron case was released on Jan. 1, 2022, according to Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical and data analysis of EOC.

The ROF was then subjected to a repeat RT-PCR test, and the result still turned out positive with a cycle threshold of 36.7, which means that he is less infectious, according to Deocampo, who briefed the city officials on the first Omicron case here.

The ROF was placed under quarantine for seven more days.

It is quite normal for those found previously infected to still yield positive result up to 90 days but no longer considered infectious, Deocampo said.

The ROF is from Mindanao, while the wife is from Pampanga, who arrived here on Dec. 5, and worked here as a call center agent.

Doctors also noted that the ROF had been asymptomatic from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3, 2022.

Deocampo also said the co-workers of the ROF’s wife at the BPO company should not be alarmed because her last day of reporting was on Dec. 29 yet or, two days before she had a contact with her infected husband.

“This is apparently not a local case. This is an imported one based on the accounts made by the DOH and other experts,” Leonardia said, adding that the genome sequencing result of the ROF just came out late.

Leonardia, however, noted that “just the same, we have to take precautions.”

The RT-PCR result for his wife is still being awaited.