City prepares for new virus strain
6 January 2021 – Mayor Benjamin Magalong wants the city prepared for the new strain of the Coronavirus disease which is said to be a fast-spreading variant.
In his first public address this year during 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 in 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 execute 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 Kingdon is said to be more infectious than the present strain.
COVID-19 has a reproduction number of R0 (pronounced as R-naught) or infectivity rate of 0.4 while the new strain is at 0.7 which means that it has the ability to infect more people.
Furthermore, experts have not conclusively determined whether the vaccines can contain the new strain thus the need to be more careful, the mayor added. ** Aileen P. Refuerzo