For the second time this year since the pandemic, the city of Puerto Princesa is nearing another critical point in its COVID-19 response capacity, as the number of positive cases reported on Friday swelled to 1,055.

A consistent rise in the number of cases, on still unconfirmed suspicion about a local spread of the dreaded Delta virus,  has local health authorities fearing another local surge.

City Incident Management Team (IMT) head Dr. Dean Palanca previously stated that if cases continue to rise this October, active cases could reach as high as 4,000. He also stated that 1,000 active cases is the city’s maximum capacity in terms of healthcare facilities.

In the CESU daily case report posted by the City Information Office (CIO) on October 8, the top barangays with coronavirus cases are San Pedro-65, San Miguel-58, Sta. Monica-48, San Jose-39, Tiniguiban-33, San Manuel-27, Sicsican-26, Banca-Bancao-16, Tagburos-14, and Milagrosa-10. Other barangays have 113.

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CESU daily case report on October 8, 2021. (Screenshot from the Puerto Princesa City Information Office)

Of the total number of cases, 288 were reported as asymptomatic while 767 were symptomatic.

Dr. Palanca, in a video released by the CIO on Thursday, urged city residents to carefully adhere to social and physical distancing guidelines to prevent contracting the virus as facilities approach capacity.

“Mataas nanaman ang kaso dito sa Puerto Princesa. Umaabot ng 800 hanggang 900 katao ang may COVID right now sa ating mga isolation facilities at sa ating mga hospitals,” he said.

“Punuan na rin ang ating mga tatlong hospital na pinagdadalahan natin ng COVID [patients]. Both sa ICU beds, yung ating mga COVID beds ay halos puno na sa tatlong ospital na ito. Right now, meron nang pila sa mga ospital na yan ng mga taong papasukin kung sila ay moderate to severe or critical,” Dr. Palanca added.

He said a COVID patient needing special care may wait 2-3 days before they can be admitted to the hospitals.

Puerto Princesa average mortality rate
Dr. Palanca said the city’s average mortality is two or more patients.

“Araw-araw, tayo ay namamatayan na po right now,” he said, noting that the majority of those who died were 50 and older, and had not had their vaccines. “Ang nakakalungkot dyan, sila karamihan ay walang bakuna. Wala talagang laban kung sila ay tamaan ng sakit na COVID”.

COVID among children
Dr. Palanca also expressed concern that young children were getting the virus and being admitted to hospitals with cases of severe pneumonia.

He said that their youngest patients include a 9-month-old and a one-month-old infant who are having respiratory difficulties.

“Ang isang nakakabahala right now, ang ating mga anak, mga bata ngayon ay tinatamaan ng COVID at nadadala na rin sa ating mga ospital dahil sila ay mayroong malalamang pulmonya o tinatawag nating pneumonia,” Dr. Palanca said.

“Kaya sa ating mga kababayan, tripleng ingat po. Mag-ingat tayo, importante ang ating face mask once na lumabas tayo ng ating tahanan, gamitin yong face mask. Social distancing ay talagang sundin, and then huwag na munang magpunta sa mga okasyon, like mga birthday parties, inuman ng mga barkada, at mga lakad ng barkada,” he added. (with a report from Patricia Laririt)

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.