Two jail detainees and one locally stranded returnee tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), raising to 42 the total recorded cases in Palawan province.
JS/Insp. Irene Gaspar, warden of Puerto Princesa City Jail (PPCJ), said Friday evening that the two detainees have been isolated at the city jail and will be transferred to the isolation facility at Sitio Magarwak on Saturday (July 4).
“Newly committed persons deprived of liberty (PDL) ‘yon, nanggaling sa labas. Automatic kasi bago ipasok dapat ipa-test muna sila ng Philippine National Police (PNP) or kung sino man ang committing officer kaso may commitment order kaya [na-]receive talaga namin,” Gaspar said.
Gaspar added that as part of their protocol, all newly-committed detainees were swabbed and isolated pending results.
“As protocol namin, lahat ng newly committed, isolated kaagad until ma-swab sila. Sadly, sa mga na-swab kahapon (July 2), may dalawang nag-positive. Bukas ang transfer nila sa quarantine facility sa Magarwak,” Gaspar said.
Gaspar added that the two PDLs were committed with 15 other inmates on June 25 and 29. The 13 detainees, who were now considered close contacts, have been scheduled for confirmatory tests on Sunday.
“15 silang magkakasabay na halos mga bago sila. Itong 15 na ito magkakasama pa rin, kanina lang namin nalaman na may nag-positive, hiniwalay na namin ‘yong dalawa. May 13 pa dito na i-schedule pa rin na ma-test sila kasi nga delikado,” Gaspar said.
Dr. Dean Palanca, commander of the city Incident Management Team (IMT), in a live announcement on Facebook, disclosed that two of the positive cases are male PDLs, both aged 26. The third patient is a 31-year-old male locally stranded returnee from Metro Manila, who arrived on June 28 aboard 2GO Shipping Lines.
He said they were swabbed Thursday as part of a batch of 27 LSIs who are sick in quarantine facilities, residents of Puerto Princesa who were reactive to rapid diagnostic testing (RDT), prison guards, and jail detainees who needed to undergo health evaluation before they are committed.
“Out of 27 samples na ating pina-examine sa Ospital Ng Palawan (ONP) COVID-19 laboratory, meron tayong tatlo na kumpirmadong may kaso ng COVID-19. ‘Yong dalawang kaso ay parehong 26-years-old na male. Ito ay infected during noong swabbing test natin na PDL. Right now, nasa isang isolation room at scheduled silang dalhin sa ating facility. Silang dalawa ay asymptomatic—walang masamang nararamdaman sa kanilang katawan,” Palanca said.
“’Yong ating pangatlong kaso ay isang LSI, 31-years-old na male from Manila to Puerto Princesa via 2GO noong June 28. Siya ay kumpirmadong meron ding COVID-19,” Dr. Palanca said.
Palawan province, including Puerto Princesa City, now has a total of 42 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 10 recoveries, one casualty, and 31 active cases, as of 6 p.m., Friday (July 3).
Of the active cases, 16 are in Puerto Princesa, six in Bataraza, two in Cuyo, one in Taytay, and three each for Sofronio Española and Busuanga.
(With reports from Jayra Joyce Taboada, Ruth Rodriguez, and Celeste Anna Formoso)