This week saw a sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in the province, with 24 cases recorded from August 17 to 22.
The province’s second COVID-related death was also recorded this week, when an 82-year-old female patient from Coron expired on August 18, a day after she tested positive for the virus.
The 16 cases recorded this week were also instances of local transmission.
Two previously COVID-free towns, namely, Narra ang Magsaysay, recorded one new case each this week.
Coron overtook Cuyo as the town with the highest daily count on Friday (August 21) with 16 new cases. One patient was an authorized person outside residence (APOR), while the other 15 have no travel history outside the town.
They were also revealed to have been close contacts of the deceased Coron patient, who died in the Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital (CSGH). The deceased patient also did not have travel history outside Coron, making her the first case of local transmission in the town.
Northern towns began tightening borders as soon as Coron confirmed that the 82-year-old patient was a local transmission case. Taytay, El Nido, and island towns Linapacan and Culion issued strict travel advisories for those arriving or traveling to Coron.
Busuanga, which shares part of its mainland with Coron, issued a travel ban for all those arriving from Coron. The town also announced that a family of three all tested positive yesterday (August 21). On the same day, the local government announced that for 48 hours, locals should remain indoors until contact tracing efforts conclude.
“Simula mamayang 6PM, ngayong August 21, ay ipapatupad sa buong Busuanga ang 48-hour na walang lalabas at pupunta sa ibang barangay upang bigyang-daan ang contact tracing na isasagawa ng municipal task force, matapos magkaroon ng positibo sa swab test ang isang pamilya (isang 8-month-old, tatay, at ang nanay),” said a statement by the Busuanga Public Information office.
The statement added that the family may have been in contact with the 82-year-old patient from Coron.
Narra recorded its first COVID-19 case, a 32-year-old male returning local. The patient was IgM reactive on his RDT, and later tested positive through RT-PCR in Puerto Princesa City, where he is currently in quarantine.
Puerto Princesa recorded only one new case this week, a 45-year-old APOR who arrived via ferry.
Roxas recorded one case on Thursday (August 20), a 40-year-old male returnee.
The town of Brooke’s Point added one more case on Monday (August 17), a 22-year-old male returnee who arrived via a commercial flight.
“Nagkaroon tayo ng bagong confirmed COVID case. Isa po siyang APOR, male, 45 years old. Dumating siya August 3 via 2GO,” said city information officer Richard Ligad August 21.
Magsaysay, another previously COVID-free town, recorded one new case on August 21, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).
The town Araceli was declared COVID-free after its 36-year-old male patient was sent home Monday (August 17).
Remaining towns without recorded COVID-19 cases are Linapacan, Kalayaan, Balabac, ang Cagayancillo.
(With reports by Romar Miranda, Jane Tumalac, Ruth Rodriguez, and Patricia Laririt)