MORE COVID-19 CASES. A health worker collects swab samples from a locally stranded individual who returned to Kananga, Leyte in this Aug. 1, 2020 photo. The Department of Health on Friday (Aug. 21, 2020) reported 135 new cases in Eastern Visayas, the highest single-day spike recorded in the region since March, bringing its total to 2,053. (Photo courtesy of Kananga local government)

TACLOBAN CITY – Confirmed coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in Eastern Visayas have reached 2,053 with 135 new infections reported Friday night, the highest single-day spike recorded in the region since March.

In a press statement, Department of Health (DOH) Eastern Visayas chief Minerva Molon, said the new confirmed cases are part of the 925 swab results from the region’s two Covid-19 laboratories here.

The state-run Eastern Visayas Regional Covid-19 Testing Center reported 118 new cases while the privately-managed Divine Word Hospital Virology Laboratory released 30 positive results, 17 of which are new cases and 13 are repeat tests of patients.

Samar has 83 new cases -- 59 are close contacts of confirmed patients in Villareal town, 19 in Catbalogan City, four in Hinabangan town, and a locally stranded individual (LSI) who returned to Calbayog City from Parañaque.

In Leyte, 25 more cases were reported in Tacloban, three in Babatngon, two each in Palo, Palompon, Tabango, and Isabel, and one each in Tanauan, Carigara, Jaro, Abuyog, and Mahaplag.

Southern Leyte has 10 new infections, three each in Malitbog and San Ricardo, two in San Francisco, and one each in Padre Burgos and San Juan, while Borongan City in Eastern Samar also has one new case.

“We are now experiencing the second wave of infections. There is now evidence of a more infectious strain of the virus as noted in the number of reported local cases in the region for the past weeks,” Molon said.

The current regional total is almost three times higher than the 695 total cases in the region as of July 21, with the continuous arrival of more LSIs and reported local transmission in several areas.

The regional office said among the new cases reported for the past days involved several health workers and front-liners.

“With this current situation and local transmission of the virus, we remind the public to immediately self-isolate if experiencing flu-like symptoms and strictly practice the minimum health standards such as wearing of face masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, among others,” Molon said.

To date, the region has 1,303 recoveries, 741 active cases, and seven deaths due to Covid-19 complications, based on the DOH monitoring report. (PNA)