The regional health department on Sunday cleared 12 “suspect” COVID-19 cases in Palawan after their test results returned negative, trimming the number of patients awaiting result to eight.

Among the 12 who tested negative was the deceased pregnant woman from El Nido who died on April 19, according to provincial health officer (PHO) Dr. Mary Ann Navarro.

“Negative ‘yong test nung buntis. Ang ikinamatay niya ay complication ng hypertension in pregnancy,” she said.

Second Death on Sunday

Brooke’s Point mayor Jean Feliciano said a suspect COVID-19 patient died Sunday in this southern town. However, the death would remain unverified to be related to COVID-19 infection since the deceased patient was not swabbed for the confirmatory test.

“‘Yong sa namatay, hindi natin ma-confirm na COVID-19 kasi hindi naman na-swab. Wala namang exposure sa taong COVID-positive dahil hindi naman siya umalis ng barangay,” Feliciano said.

The deceased suspect COVID-19 patient was reported by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) to the PHO for case recording according to Dan Esmerio, MDRRMO officer.

“Nakausap ko ang mga kamag-anak ng namatay habang pinagda-drive ng service papuntang cemetery. Dati ng may high blood ang biktima at sa bukid lamang ito ng Barangay Maasin naglalagi,” Esmerio said.

Bayron Pushes for Own Testing Center

Puerto Princesa City mayor Lucilo Bayron once again pushed for the city’s own testing center, after recording Palawan’s second confirmed COVID-19 cases.

This, after the deceased confirmed COVID-19 patient died on April 21 with his test result returning only on Saturday evening, six days late after he was swabbed on April 19.

“‘Yong Ospital Ng Palawan (ONP) ay napili na mag-start na gamitin ‘yong ating GenXpert laboratory. Makakaasa tayo once it’s already operational, mas mabilis ‘yong ating turnover ng mga specimen,” Bayron said.

Bayron claimed that a group of health experts were set to arrive on Tuesday to assess the capacity of the city laboratory.

“Sa Tuesday, inaasahan namin ‘yong team to evaluate. Titinggnan natin anong capacity to run at kung ano pang kailangang enhancement ng ating laboratoryo dyan sa ONP,” he added.

Eight suspect COVID-19 patients remained to wait for their test results.

The island province recorded a total of 36 suspect COVID-19 cases, 15 of whom were admitted while the rest were under strict home quarantine as of Sunday afternoon (3 p.m., April 26). (with reports from Ruth Rodriguez and Faith Allen Galicia)

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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.