DOH, UP-PGC, AND UP-NIH CONFIRM ADDITIONAL COVID-19 VARIANT CASES INCLUDING FIRST CASE OF LAMBDA VARIANT

Press Release | 15 August 2021

The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) today report the detection of 182 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, 41 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 66 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, 40 P.3 variant cases, and the first case of the Lambda (C.37) variant of interest in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing. The latest sequencing run also included repeat samples that were sequenced last July 28, 2021 and were initially determined to have no lineage.

ON DELTA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 182 Delta variant cases, 112 are local cases, 36 are Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF), and 34 cases are currently being verified if these are local or ROF cases. Of the 112 local cases, 42 cases had indicated addresses in the National Capital Region, while 36 cases had indicated addresses in Central Luzon, eight cases in CALABARZON, six cases in MIMAROPA, six cases in Northern Mindanao, four cases in Central Visayas, three cases in Davao Region, three cases in Caraga, two cases in Western Visayas, and one case each in the Cordillera Administrative Region and BARMM. Based on the case line list, one is still active, 176 cases have been tagged as recovered, four cases have died, and one case has an outcome that is being verified. All other details are being validated by the regional and local health offices.

Upon verification, it was determined that two cases that were initially tagged as Delta cases from NCR last August 4 are Beta variant cases.

This update brings the total Delta variant cases to 807.

ON ALPHA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 41 Alpha variant cases detected, 38 were local cases, one is an ROF case, and two are currently being verified if this is a local or ROF case. Based on the case line list, two cases have died, 36 cases have been tagged as recovered, and three cases have outcomes that are being verified.

Upon verification, two Alpha variant cases initially tagged in NCR last August 4 were verified to be Beta variant cases. Additionally, one Alpha variant case tested by one COVID-19 laboratory had two samples that were both sequenced. Lastly, a sample of another Alpha variant case was sequenced twice and yielded the same result. Correcting for all these resulted in a reduction of four cases from the total case counts for the Alpha variant.

With these, the total Alpha variant cases is now 2,232.

ON BETA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 66 Beta variant cases, 56 were local cases and ten cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, two cases have died, 63 cases have been tagged as recovered, and one case with outcome being verified.

Among the 127 total Beta variant cases reported last July 29, the DOH verified two cases initially tagged in NCR that were reported as duplicates. In addition, it was verified that two Beta variant cases tested from a single laboratory each had two samples that were both sequenced. This results in four cases deducted from the total Beta variant case counts.

After verification, the total Beta variant cases are now at 2,483.

ON LAMBDA VARIANT CASE:

The Lambda variant case is a 35-year old female and is currently being validated as to whether she is a local or ROF case. The case was asymptomatic and tagged as Recovered after undergoing the 10-day isolation period. The DOH is currently conducting back tracing and case investigation.

The Lambda variant, first identified in Peru in August 2020, was classified as a Variant of Interest (VOI) by the World Health Organization on June 14, 2021. This VOI has the potential to affect the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 and is currently being monitored for its possible clinical significance.

ON P.3 VARIANT CASES:

Of the 40 additional P.3 variant cases, 37 were local cases and three cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. All cases have been tagged as recovered.

The UP-PGC also reclassified six cases previously detected to have non-VOC lineages as P.3.

Regardless of the presence of any variant of concern, the DOH reiterates to the public the strict adherence to the minimum public health standards, strengthened PDITR, and vaccination strategies remain effective. Active case finding, aggressive contact tracing, and immediate isolation/quarantine can also lower the transmission of the COVID-19 and its variants.

The DOH also reminds everyone to take care of their mental health during the  COVID-19 pandemic. The Mental Health Crisis Hotline of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) is open 24/7 at 09663514518 or 09178998727 for Globe/TM subscribers and at 09086392672 for Smart/TnT/Sun subscribers.

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