This past week saw a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Puerto Princesa City, from near zero cases in the last few weeks to 22 as of Saturday night, February 13, when a formal update was announced by the city health office.

Most of these current active cases are linked to that of an elderly patient from Barangay San Jose who recently passed away after being diagnosed for infection.  It appears that authorities have yet to determine the cause of the spreading infection, raising the possibility of an unidentified carrier spreading the infection unchecked.

This is the second time a community transmission situation was observed in the city, the first was when a similar spike of cases occurred early in the third quarter of last year around a case in Barangay Sta. Monica and spreading among the personnel of the Ospital ng Palawan.

The city and its population has reacted to the virus threat in an evolving manner. Nowadays was different from when the first two cases of COVID-19 infection were reported and anxiety blanketed the city into strict lockdowns. The collective attitude now is more laid back, perhaps buoyed by an expectation that we are now rounding the corner away from the pandemic with the promise of the vaccines and its expected local rollout soon.

Last week’s spike of cases however reminds us that the threat remains real and is still very much in place.

It has been to the credit of the city’s response capability that none of the previous spikes in cases had led to a further deterioration of the situation as we saw in several other provinces and cities. There is a continuing challenge to effectively manage the situation to prevent an escalation and it requires not only protocol policy response but more importantly the cooperation of the population.