The city government has confirmed an earlier report that at least eight more participants in its biking and lighting event at the Acacia Lane last March 7 had tested positive for COVID-19.
Most of the “high risk close contacts” identified by the Incident Management Team (IMT) were traced from uploaded Facebook photos, showing some locals having direct contact with the first known case, said Doctor Dean Palanca, incident commander of IMT, in an online press briefing Tuesday afternoon.
“Itong dalawang allowed persons outside residence (APOR) kasi sila ay bike enthusiasts, at kasama sa Bike Hero activity na ginawa ng city government. May nakita tayo sa pictures na sila ay nakipag-picture, nakipag-akbay, at nakipag-kamay,” said Palanca.
The two APORs, both males aged 51-year-old and a 48-year-old residing in Barangay Santa Monica, who arrived in Puerto Princesa on March 3, previously tested positive for COVID-19 as announced by the City Information Office (CIO) on Monday, despite their earlier negative RT-PCR saliva test, which was a prerequisite for arriving individuals in the city.
“11 persons na na-test. Out of 11, lumabas na walo ang positive sa kanila. Apat na babae, at apat na lalake. Sila ay high risk close contact noong dalawang APOR na dumating noong March 3,” Palanca said.
The contact tracing team had been continuously monitoring individuals, whom they believe had direct contact with the index patients.
Palanca added that after the earlier report of COVID-19 cases, certain individuals have deleted their social media posts, linking them to the index patients, which caused certain challenges on their contact tracing efforts.
“’Yong ibang may mga pictures tinanggal na nila. Patuloy pa rin tayo sa contact tracing. ‘Yong mga bikers, lalo na alam nila may pictures sila sa sarili, tina-try naming i-reach out,” Palanca added.
The organizers of the Bike Hero Balayong Fun Ride even had yet to issue a statement.