City Incident Management Team (IMT) head Dr. Dean Palanca.

City health authorities may seek tighter minimum public health restrictions at a localized level rather than requesting a higher quarantine classification after Puerto Princesa breached 1,000 active COVID-19 cases late last week.

Aside from breaching the city’s healthcare capacity, the number of deaths for October exceeded city Incident Management Team (IMT) head Dr. Dean Palanca’s projections.

“Talagang lubos-lubos na tayo. Imbis na two deaths, mas mahigit pa doon. Sa isang araw, minsan lima,” Palanca said in an interview on Monday.

“Baka mag-request na lang tayo ng restrictions na dito lang muna talaga sa atin. Hindi rin kasi tayo sigurado kung iga-grant ng national government ang higher restrictions, kasi ni-reject nga tayo nakaraan,” he added.

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The city Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) initially asked for either general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions, or GCQ Alert Level 4. Ultimately, the national IATF announced that Puerto Princesa would stay under GCQ until the end of October.

Palanca previously stated in a live briefing that the city’s healthcare capacity is only at 1,000 active cases. He also stated that if cases still continue to rise in October, as many as 4,000 active cases may be recorded by the middle of the month.

When asked if vaccination efforts have been speeding up to combat rising COVID-19 infections and deaths, Palanca stated that the virus is simply spreading too fast, and that vaccination does not prevent people from getting infected.

“Maganda naman ang vaccination natin. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na vaccinated, hindi magkaka-COVID. Proteksyon lang iyon sa severe effects at death,” Palanca said.

A total of 278 deaths were recorded from January to October 10, according to data provided by the City Information Office. From 169 deaths reported from June to October, 154 were unvaccinated individuals, 11 first-dose recipients, and four fully vaccinated individuals. As of Monday, there were 1,170 active cases, according to the City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (CESU).

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.