Mayor says city won’t reach Alert Level 4, Omicron surge “manageable”
Currently under Alert Level 3, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said in a media forum, Jan. 11, he is confident the city will not reach Level 4 since measures are in place to manage the expected surge of cases due to the Coronavirus 2019 disease (Covid-19) Omicron variant.
He said the city government has reduced the number of tourists to the Summer Capital; suspended the issuance of acceptance certificates; strictly enforces border controls allowing only those with essential purposes to enter; and others.
Due to the latest variant’s more infectious nature, the Mayor is projecting around 400 to 500 active Omicron cases daily as compared to 200 during the Delta surge last year.
Although officially Baguio still has no Omicron case, he believes that it is already present but has not yet been detected.
Since the city lacks adequate isolation and quarantine facilities to handle all the cases, he said that home quarantine is being maximized for those with asymptomatic, mild or moderate cases while those with severe cases are brought to the hospitals and temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.
The Mayor said that although Omicron is more infectious than Delta, it is less severe according to health experts and interviews with patients thereby requiring less patient hospitalizations.
“To manage our isolation and quarantine facilities and in collaboration with hospitals, we make sure that if cases are asymptomatic, mild or moderate and home quarantine is possible with the residence meeting standards, then home quarantine is allowed,” he said.
COVID-19 home isolation and quarantine requirements include well-ventilated and separate bedrooms for patients or separate beds with enough distance; accessible bathroom; utilities; with solid waste, sewage disposal; and more.
The Mayor reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated and having booster shots since these have “a large impact in protecting oneself against Covid-19 and its variants.” – Gaby B. Keith