Delta-style preparations up for Omicron variant

As it did with the Delta variant, the city government has launched proactive preparations for Omicron while keeping watch over developments on the newest Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant of concern (VOC).

The management committee (MANCOM) led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and composed of city department heads convened Dec. 1 specifically to tackle its action plan for preventing, controlling and managing another probable surge in cases.

Magalong said that as they did with the Delta-driven wave, the city is preparing ahead of time by ensuring that all its Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategies are well in place before any surge begins.

The action plan will take off from the blueprint for Delta with improvements and modifications in areas where they are needed depending on the developments.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said the measures will again involve vigilant and proactive regulations over borders and city activities, active surveillance of cases, reinforcement of minimum public health standards and aggressive vaccination.

Acting City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office head Antonette Anaban said the action plan will focus on the following areas: suppression, reduction of exposure, protection of the vulnerable and reduction of morbidity.

Initial assessment and inventory of resources showed the city is prepared in terms of its facilities and logistics including oxygen and medicines.

Galpo said the isolation units can again serve as staging and step down facilities.  She pointed out the need to address the previous gaps particularly the patient transport and the monitoring and guiding of patients isolated at home.

Inventories of other needs including PPEs, working out the rehiring of additional health workers and preparations by hospitals and isolation units will be worked out in the coming days.

“Expect a flurry of preparations in the next two months as we continue to assess the situation.  We will be watching the developments and the next two weeks will be critical,” the mayor said.

Omicron is the fifth VOC initially found to have an unusually high number of mutations in its spike protein which experts fear could make it more transmissible, resistant to vaccines and capable of causing  higher risk of infections. – Aileen P. Refuerzo