City prepares for new virus variant

BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Benjamin Magalong wants the city prepared for the new variant of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-29) which is said to be a faster-spreading type.

In his first public address for 2021 at the flag-raising ceremonies at City Hall Jan. 4, the mayor said the city will focus on improving its surge capacity by increasing the bed capacity of the community isolation units it has established at the course of the pandemic to 1,000 by the end of January.

Apart from the isolation beds in the five hospitals with COVID-19 response capability, the city presently has a total of 654 beds in its six community isolation facilities namely the Baguio City Community Isolation Unit at the Sto. Niño Medical Center, the Baguio Teachers’ Camp Community Isolation Unit (Roxas Hall), the Baguio Teachers’ Camp Isolation Unit (Superintendent’s Quarters and Hernandez Hall), V Dorm 1, V Dorm 3 and Ferionni Apartments.

The mayor said the city will also continue to executive multi-source surveillance systems through the use of different analytical tools to enable the city to assess and determine the COVID-19 situation of the city.

The mayor said preparations are a must as the new variant which originated from the United Kingdom is said to be more infectious than the present kind.

COVID-19 has a reproduction number of R0 (pronounced as R-naught) or infectivity rate of 0.4 while the new one is at 0.7 which meant that it has the ability to infect more people.

Furthermore, experts have not conclusively determined whether the vaccines can contain the new variant thus the need to be more careful, the mayor added. – Aileen P. Refuerzo