Dr. Eunice Herrera of the city Incident Management Team (IMT) welcomes the three 3 COVID-19 survivors Saturday (June 27) morning at the Skylight Convention Center for their send-off ceremony. (Contributed photo)



The city government on Saturday celebrated the release of three COVID-19 “survivors” from one of its treatment facilities, organizing a modest send-off ceremony attended by Mayor Lucilo Bayron himself.

The event marked the first 3 cases of COVID-19 recoveries in Puerto Princesa City.

The ceremony was held at the Skylight Convention Center on Saturday morning, with Mayor Bayron delivering a congratulatory message online to the three recovered patients and the frontliners who took care of them.

City health frontliners cheered as they welcome the COVID-19 survivors at Skylight Convention Center for their send-off ceremony and release from isolation Saturday morning. (Contributed photo)

The three recovered patients included a 29-year-old female Overseas Filipino worker (OFW), known as Patient No. 3, and two male (Patient Nos. 4 and 5) locally stranded individuals (LSI) from mainland Luzon.

“Salamat po sa messages at sa pagdadasal. Sa mga frontliners, salamat sa suporta at pag-aasikaso sa amin kahit wala kaming sintomas. Keep fighting and praying,” Patient No. 3 said during the ceremony.

“Salamat dahil alam naming napapalayo din kayo sa pamilya niyo pero nagsasakripisyo kayo,” she added.

Dr. Ruffia Marie Atencio, medical officer of City Health Office (CHO), reminded the public that the fight against COVID-19 requires the cooperation of everyone.

“This COVID-19 is not only a one-way fight. It is through the cooperation of both the management and frontliners and the patient and families themselves na mapagtatagumpayan natin ito. True enough wala silang symptoms and we thank God that until now, our cases are manageable,” Atencio said.

“We all know that the virus is only waiting for a weak host para dun mas magparami. If we do precaution, we will also be preventing the vulnerable people fron getting COVID-19 because sila talaga ang magiging affected,” she added.

The 3 case recoveries brought down to 10 the active COVID-19 cases in Puerto Princesa City

Asymptomatic patients

Dr. Dean Palanca, the incident commander leading the city’s response to the pandemic, said the 3 cases were deemed recovered since the patients exceeded their 14-day quarantine period without showing any more symptoms of the disease.

“Yes, recovered na sila. IgG reactive na sila. Wala nang RT-PCR GeneXpert tests basta’t more than 14 days nang asymptomatic sila. Nasa guidelines kasi ng Department of Health (DOH) na kapag 14 days or more na ay puwede nang i-declare ng attending doctor na recovered na. May IgG na sila, yong kanyang anti-bodies na lumalaban sa virus ay meron na sila,” Dr. Palanca said.

8 negative COVID patients

Dr. Palanca also announced that while an additional positive case was discovered Friday, the eight other swab samples that were tested at the Ospital ng Palawan laboratory had yielded a negative result.

He said the eight negative results were part of the batch of swabs that included the 6th Barangay Sta. Monica community transmission case they previously announced.

“June 25, nagkaroon kami ng swab tests para sa RT-PCR GeneXpert COVID testing — nagpadala kami ng siyam na samples, yong siyam na samples ay in-examine sa laboratory ng ONP. Sa siyam na samples na yon, yong… actually, na-report natin, out of nine ay isa doon yong confirmed,” he said.

“Ito yong ni-report na rin natin kaninang umaga (June 26). And then out of that, yong walo po doon ay negative na — bumalik na lahat ng results nila ngayong gabi so, out of nine, isa ang confirmed, and then yong walo doon ay sila yong mga bumalik na negative yong results,” Dr. Palanca added.

He said the eight negative COVID-19 cases include seven locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and two from Puerto Princesa City.

Of the seven LSIs, two are close contacts of Patient No. 3, a female Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) returnee.

“Kung hihiwa-hiwalayin natin kung sinu-sino ang walo na yon, 7 na LSIs at dalawang galing mismo dito o local na taga-Puerto Princesa. Sa pitong LSI, yong dalawa po doon ay galing pa rin sa contact, direct contact ng ating Patient No. 3 na isa rin pong LSI,” he said.

“And then yong apat out of seven na yon sila yong mga LSI na nandito sa ating hotel facility, hotel quarantine na nagkaroon ng konting pag-ubo. Kung hindi inuubo, sila ay sinisipon. Yong apat na yon ay kasama rin na na-swab. And then yong isa doon — one out of seven — ibig sabihin, isang LSI ito na naging reactive sa ating rapid diagnostic tests. Out of seven, may dalawa doon na galing sa contact tracing na direct contact ni Patient No. 3, yong apat may mga sintomas na konting pag-uubo at yong isa ay reactive sa ating ginagawang RDT — seven po yon. And then itong dalawa, ang isa sa dalawang yon ay isa sa pamilya namin na medical frontliner na aming na-swab. At yong isa doon sa dalawa na yon, yon yong kaninang ni-report natin na meron siyang COVID-19 na disease,” he explained.

Dr. Palanca said that this weekend, another swab testing will be done on the families of those whose results for COVID-19 are positive.

(with reports from Celeste Anna Formoso and Ruth Rodriguez)