CNN Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is verifying the death of a person from Antique found to be a carrier of the more transmissible Delta variant, an official said Saturday.
“Bine-verify pa ho natin ‘yung taga-Antique na apparently namatay din,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday in a Laging Handa briefing. “We are getting the complete information so that we can inform the public also.”
On Friday, the DOH reported the detection of 16 new Delta coronavirus variant cases, including the first 11 local infections. This brings the total number of Delta cases to 35, of which two resulted in deaths – a local case from Manila and one imported case.
Of the 11 local cases, two came from Antique, the DOH said, adding that both of them have been tagged as recovered.
However, data from Antique’s provincial health office showed that one of the patients, a 78-year-old woman, died, while the other, a 79-year-old man, has recovered, a local health official said.
“Based naman sa pinadala na event-based report ng provincial health office ng Antique, itong Case No. 34 ay namatay last May 31 of this year,” Dr. Sophia Pulmones said in the same briefing.
She explained that the two local Delta cases from Antique were identified as Case 34 and Case 35.
Both of them tested positive for coronavirus on May 29, the DOH Western Visayas earlier said. Their samples were sent for genome sequencing on June 11, with the results coming out only on July 16.
The elderly individuals have not received the coronavirus vaccines yet, Pulmones said.
According to her, authorities in Antique are trying to trace all the people who have come in contact with the Delta cases, adding that their priority is to find the close contacts and those who exhibit symptoms after the exposure.
Local health officials also recommended to the Antique government to designate a separate isolation facility for the close contacts of the Delta cases, Pulmones said.
Surge in Antique
Last month, the DOH flagged Antique due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. The uptick may be attributed to variants of concern, including Delta, Pulmones said.
“Posible, because we all know na ang Delta variant ay highly transmissible,” she said when asked if she believes Delta is the reason behind the rise in infections in Antique.
“Hindi lang itong Delta variant ang kino-consider natin because marami pa tayong variants of concern na nakapasok na sa sa Philippines –’yung Alpha and Beta variants,” she added.
Antique is under general community quarantine with “heightened restrictions” until July 31.