A COVID-19 positive patient has been sharing an isolation room in a government facility in Araceli town with some of his immediate family members who are not even confirmed cases but are only under quarantine, according to a report received by Palawan News.

Palawan News was told by a relative of the confirmed COVID-19 patient that the family has been sharing one room despite health officials being aware of the patient’s status as a confirmed case.

The patient, listed by the municipality as its Patient No. 3, is reportedly a 34-year old male who arrived in Palawan as a locally stranded individual on July 12 along with his wife, his two parents and a son.

While under mandatory 14-day quarantine, the Palawan News source said Patient No. 3 contracted the virus when he interacted with a known positive case who was in the same facility, identified as Patient No. 2.

Patient No. 3 was released from the facility after completing quarantine, but was returned along with his family on August 1 when his swab sample tested positive for COVID-19, according to the source.

“Magkakasama sila doon ng dalawang matanda at ‘yong anak nilang bata. Naghihiraman din silang mag-asawa ng thermometer kasi wala namang gamit na binigay para ma-monitor man lang ‘yong temperature nila,” the source from the family told Palawan News.

Patient number three was considered as a close contact of patient number two. They are not related but had a direct exposure upon their trip home on July 12 aboard Air Asia flight.

Patient number three was first nonreactive to rapid diagnostic test (RDT) upon his arrival and was subsequently allowed to go home, despite being a known direct contact of patient number two who had previously tested positive through confirmatory test for the infectious disease on July 29.

Patient number three stayed in a tight compound along with his nuclear family until August 1, according to his family member.

Over the weekend, at least 17 close contacts of patient number three, including his immediate family members, were picked up by the municipal health officers to be brought to the isolation facility, following the confirmatory test of patient number two.

Several other family members were asked to undergo home quarantine, but no local official has contacted them for monitoring, the family member claimed.

“Bakit hinayaan nilang lumabas ‘yong pasyente kung wala pa naman palang result? Syempre confident na siyang okay siya. Kapag ganito sila mag-implement ng protocol, lalong kakalat ang virus,” the family member said.

Rhealene Villarta-Fernando, acting Araceli municipal health officer, in a separate phone interview with Palawan News, declined to answer the allegations and said that they have yet to verify the concerns and will issue an official statement after the investigation has concluded.

The family member also pointed out that they are experiencing discrimination after the names and photos of the confirmed patients in Araceli town circulated online.

Fernando further stressed on calling on the local legislators to enact a local ordinance against discrimination towards health workers and COVID-19 patients.

“Hindi naman kasi nakakatulong ‘yong pagkakalat pa ng mga information kasi nagdudulot lang ng discrimination,” Fernando said.

(With a report from Jane Tumalac)

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.