La Union records first 2 Omicron cases

BALAOAN, La Union – The Department of Health Center for Health Development in the Ilocos Region (DOH-CHD-1) confirmed on Wednesday that two localities in La Union have recorded their first cases of Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a phone interview, DOH-CHD-1 Covid-19 focal person Dr. Rheuel Bobis said one of the first two cases of Omicron variant in the province was from Balaoan town.

“A 37-year-old male returning overseas Filipino worker (OFW) tested positive for Covid-19 on December 19 last year after he underwent reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test, and experienced symptoms following his arrival to the country on December 16,” he said.

Bobis said the OFW completed his quarantine on January 3, returned to La Union on January 5, and the positive result for the Omicron variant of his genome sequencing was released on January 14.

“He was already considered clinically recovered. However, as per protocol, if the case was a variant of concern, then he needs to reisolate until there will be no signs and symptoms of Covid-19. His close contacts up to the third generation will also be quarantined for monitoring for signs and symptoms,” he said.

The profile of the other Omicron variant case in the province is not yet divulged as the department is still waiting for the confirmation of the concerned LGU, he added.

Bobis said there are eight confirmed Omicron variant cases in the Ilocos Region as of January 18.

Four cases were in Pangasinan, two in La Union, and one each in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

In a recent interview, Bobis said the Omicron variant is highly transmissible and although it has mild symptoms, some still experience severe and critical symptoms, especially those with comorbidities and unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

He reminded the public to strictly adhere to the minimum health protocols and get immunized.

All the provinces in the Ilocos Region are now under Alert Level 3 status.