CEBU CITY, Philippines – The 63 persons who tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday, April 25, in the Cebu City Jail were all the new cases in this city, the health department said in a Facebook post.
According to the Cebu City Health Department those new cases in the city jail raised to 210 the COVID-19 patients in the prison. The health department did not specify how many in that tally were inmates and how many were jail staff.
The neighboring Mandaue City Jail also reported its first coronavirus case on Friday, April 24. (READ: Mandaue City Jail inmate tests positive for coronavirus)
Because of the congestion inside jails, the place is prone to viral outbreaks. Advocacy organizations are urging the release of elderly and sickly patients to reduce risk of infecting inmates with pre-existing conditions and to free up space in the detention facilities. (READ: DOJ: Early release of sick, elderly prisoners ordered before virus crisis)
The new infections at Cebu City Jail also account for all the newly detected cases in the Central Visayas on Saturday.
The new total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the region are the following:
- Bohol, 1
- Cebu, 3
- Negros Oriental, 4
- Cebu City 412
- Lapu-Lapu City, 28
- Mandaue City, 11
The total number of deaths in the region is at 10, while 25 others recovered.
The Department of Health Central Visayas said in a memo that the numbers had to be adjusted down by 1 confirmed case in Cebu City from the total on Friday due to an encoding error by a lab technician.
The correction is already reflected in today’s total at 459 confirmed cases.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Director of the DOH-7, said in addressing the issue of discrepancies of local numbers not being accounted for yet in the daily announcements by DOH-7.
“It has come to our attention that numbers being mentioned by our local leadres and national figures sometimes do not match the official numbers of the DOH Central Visayas,” Bernadas said in his statement.
Often, regional health offices and local government units announce their validated figures to the public before they are accounted for and reconciled by the DOH in Manila.
Bernadas admitted the discrepancy between the DOH-7 data, which is released locally, and that of the central office in Manila.
“We would like to assure the general public that the regional numbers are recorded in the national figures but not in real time,” Bernadas said. “We are now establishing a system to improve and shorten the delay from the release of our regional figures and the reflection of such figures in the national numbers. We ask for your patience and understanding,” he added.
Because of the rising numbers, Cebu City and Cebu province have been deemed “high-risk” areas by the Inter-Agency Task Force on infectious diseases, and therefore imposed an extension of the enhanced community quarantine – or lockdown – in both the city and province. (READ: Cebu, Davao City, other areas in VisMin on lockdown until May 15)
Labella already preempted this announcement by extending Cebu City’s lockdown until May 15.
While the lockdown over Cebu province was indefinite, as Governor Gwen Garcia did not put an end-date on the order.
The coronavirus cases nationally have reached 7,294, with 494 deaths and 792 recoveries as of Saturday, April 25. – Rappler.com