'Recovered' local case becomes nation's 3rd Delta variant death

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 19) — A COVID-19 patient from Antique who acquired the Delta variant in the Philippines has died, the Department of Health confirmed on Monday. This brings the Delta-related deaths in the country to three.

The 78-year-old woman from Baybay in Antique was initially reported by the agency as recovered on July 16, but Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said validation showed the patient died on May 30.

There are three deaths in the country linked to the most feared Delta coronavirus variant. The first one was the crew member from MV Athens who died on May 19. The second was the 58-year-old female local case from Pandacan district in Manila City who died on June 28, but only reported by the government agency on July 16.

There are to date 35 Delta variant cases recorded in the Philippines, including 11 locally acquired cases, according to the DOH.

With the reclassification of the patient from Antique, Vergeire said the 32 other Delta cases who were earlier reported to have recuperated will once again be subjected to testing and quarantine to further verify their status.

The health official added Delta cases have to undergo another RT-PCR test at the end of their quarantine or after they were found to be infected with the variant first found in India.

"All Delta variant cases are immediately re-assessed to determine their current clinical, laboratory, and isolation status," she told reporters. "They shall be swabbed for repeat RT-PCR at end of their isolation or upon determination that they were positive for the Delta variant."

Delta, or the B.1.617.2 coronavirus variant, is believed to be the most transmissible variant. It is associated with increased hospitalization. Health experts are worried about the Philippines' ability to deal with a similar surge.