(UPDATED) The city incident management team (IMT) announced Sunday morning a second COVID-19 positive case at the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP), involving a male employee.

The incident is considered to be another “local transmission” case, along with the first reported positive case at the government facility reported Friday involving a female healthcare worker.

Dr. Dean Palanca, city IMT commander, said the second confirmed case from ONP had close contact with the first case who started manifesting slight fever and occasional coughing symptoms on June 16.

“Ikinalulungkot po natin na may isa na naman tayong kaso ng confirmed COVID case dito sa Puerto Princesa na naitala. Ito ay lumabas kagabi at hinintay lang namin yong confirmation kung talagang confirmed. Ito’y bagong confirmed case siya ay isang lalaki na kasama rin nagtratrabaho sa Ospital ng Palawan o isang hospital employee,” he said.

“Siya po ay nag-positibo sa swab test dahil na rin sa isinagawa na contact tracing at sina-swab yong mga persons na nandoon sa priority na dapat ma-eksamin,” he added.

Dr. Palanca said he has not shown any symptoms. He has already been isolated and contact tracing has started on his case.


Not yet community transmission

Meanwhile, Dr. Ruffia Marie Atencio, spokesperson of the city health and the incident management team, clarified that there is a difference between local and community transmission.

She said as verified by the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), the two cases are already local transmission.

“Masasabi po na siyang local transmission. As verified ng ating CESU, siya ay matatawag na local transmission in the sense na ito kasi ay dito na nakuha sa ating syudad. Tinatawag na local transmission kapag hindi sa labas ng syudad o ng isang Lugar nakuha yong sakit. Dahil dito na siya nakuha, dito na nahawa, ito ay considered ng local transmission,” said Dr. Atencio.

“Pero hindi pa siya masasabi na community transmission — magkaiba po kasi ito. Kapag sinabi mong local transmission, enough to say na dito na siya nakuha. Pero para masabi mo na community transmission, ibig sabihin kumalat na siya sa community or sa komunidad,” she added.

She said if their contact tracing is able to verify that there are more confirmed COVID-19 patients connected to the two local transmission cases, but “outside” the ONP — either from their families, relatives, friends, or workmates — then community transmission can already be considered.

Dr. Atencio reiterated that the two COVID-19 patients from ONP can be called local, but not community transmission.

“Inuulit ko po, ito ay matatawag ng local transmission, pero hindi pa enough para sabihin na community transmission. Nandito naman tayo ngayon sa pagkuha ng ebidensya at pag-e-establish ng community transmission at doon papasok yong contact tracing,” she added.

There are two types of contact tracing currently being performed: the city government’s which conducts tracing outside the ONP, and the ONP’s which performs the tracing within its facilities.

To date, the province already has 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 14 of who are active cases.

(With reports from Ruth Rodriguez, Romar Miranda, and Celeste Anna Formoso)