Palawan has topped the MIMAROPA region in having the most number of COVID-19 cases with 46, as four new cases were added to the count Sunday – two from Roxas and two from Bataraza.

The number of cases has seen a steady increase in the past month, even as the provincial government pressed for a gradual reopening of the economy. Roxas on Sunday logged its first two cases since the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Dr. Leo Salvino, Roxas municipal health officer, in a phone interview Sunday morning, said that their patients, a 24-year-old female and a 30-year-old male, both came home from Metro Manila as locally stranded individuals (LSI).

“Parehong Manila galing June 14 and 15 dumating via 2GO and Cebu Pacific. Babae ‘yong Cebu Pacific, ‘yong lalaki ang 2GO,” Salvino told Palawan News.

The male patient would be brought to the Roxas Medicare Hospital for “better management and isolation”, while the female patient, who maintained to be asymptomatic, would remain under home quarantine.

“‘Yong isa home quarantine lang kasi maganda naman ‘yong environment isolation, suitable siya. Tiningnan ko ‘yong home isolation niya maganda naman [at] saka asymptomatic din halos, nasa guidelines ‘yon,” Salvino added.

The two patients were nonreactive to the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) upon their arrival in Puerto Princesa City. After their 14-day quarantine period prior to being discharged, the two tested positive in their repeat RDT which subsequently required Salvino’s endorsement for a confirmatory test.

In the southern town of Bataraza, mayor Abraham Ibba, in a separate phone interview, confirmed that the two additional COVID-19 positive cases are locally stranded returnees, who were also part of the earlier batch that previously logged six confirmed cases.

“Yes, meron dalawa. Eight na kami ngayon [ng positive cases] at close contact pa rin nang mga naunang nag-positive. Isang lalaki at isang babae na asawa kasi ng isa. Ang age ay between 20 and 40-years old. Nandoon din, naka-isolate na at same block, iba-ibang rooms. Maganda ang isolation facility nila kasi sa may bundok banda,” Ibba said.

Ibba also denied certain reports that there were recoveries from their previously recorded patients.

“Wala pa kaming recovered. ‘Yong unang nag-positive hindi pa namin na re-swab, medyo [pinahaba] muna namin, baka next week pa namin ire-swab yong naunang dalawang nag-positive,” Ibba added.

Meanwhile, Puerto Princesa City led the provincial tally with 16 active cases, followed by Bataraza town with eight. Three active COVID-19 cases were each recorded for Sofronio Española and Busuanga, two in Cuyo, two in Roxas, and one in Taytay.

The Palawan province now has a total of 46 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 10 recoveries, one casualty, and 35 active cases, as of 3 p.m., Sunday (July 5).

In MIMAROPA COVID-19 tally, Palawan overtook the region with the highest number of reported cases at 46, trailing behind is Occidental Mindoro with 45. Oriental Mindoro has recorded 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while Romblon and Marinduque both held six patients each.

(With reports from Celeste Anna Formoso, Ruth Rodriguez, Alex Baaco, and Jane Tumalac)