The Department of Health has detected 97 additional cases of the more contagious Delta variant, 88 of which are local cases, it reported on Thursday.
Of the newly reported cases, 94 have recovered while 3 have died.
The DOH said two seafarers onboard the MT Clyde and Barge Claudia anchored off Albay and four crew members of MV Vega from Indonesia were also found with the Delta variant. Three other Delta cases are still being checked if they are locals or returning Filipinos.
The country has detected a total of 216 Delta cases, with eight deaths.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Thursday shared the pandemic response recommendations of a small technical working group as the country detected more cases of Delta, the most contagious among all variants of concern.
“We should be able to intensify interventions to shorten detection to isolation or quarantine interval to less than five days,” Vergeire said in a briefing. “This we hope to accomplish through active case finding, strategizing or intensifying our current testing protocols.”
Rapid antigen tests should be efficiently utilized on suspected COVID-19 cases as well as close contacts, she noted.
The official underscored the need to quickly collect samples in areas with clustering of cases. The specimens will be sequenced to determine the presence of variants of concern.
Vergeire also said the Labor and Trade departments should ensure that health protocols are followed in workplaces to prevent transmission in these areas.
Workplaces, for their part, should consider incentives that will urge employees to report their health condition and adhere to isolation and quarantine rules.
Facility quarantine should be strictly implemented to avoid household transmission, Vergeire said.
Vergeire also urged local governments to improve their local healthcare capacity, including adding beds in isolation and quarantine facilities to which mild and asymptomatic cases should be referred.
Triage and referral systems should be functional in LGUs for the swift management of cases, the official said.
Vaccination of vulnerable sectors — the senior citizens and people with comorbidities — must be ramped up to reduce the occurrence of severe disease and fatalities, she said.
Border control protocol in all ports of entry must also be strictly enforced.
Meanwhile, healthcare facilities should come up with metrics that will serve as an early warning to signal a beginning of a “surge,” Vergeire said.