17 Cebu provincial jail inmates test positive for coronavirus
CEBU, Philippines (UPDATED) – Cebu province recorded an additional 20 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, April 29, 17 of whom are inmates from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), while the 3 others are from other municipalities in Cebu province.
(Editor's Note: The Department of Health corrected an earlier announcement that 18 tested positive from the CPDRC, with 2 new confirmed cases in Cebu province.)
In an online press conference, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said that the inmates were already suspect cases after showing influenza-like symptoms. They were isolated and consequently tested.
On Sunday, April 26, Garcia had announced that swabbing was being done on inmates and strict measures were imposed at the CPDRC following reports that the detainees in other prison facilities have already been diagnosed with COVID-19. This includes an order for all employees to remain in the facility.
Despite this, Garcia said that an employee had insisted on going home to Barangay Sambag 2 in Cebu City.
"There was an employee from Cebu City who kept going home. And we're trying to see, because there were no visitors, and we didn't allow the passing of food and supplies. I feel that was the weak point because [the employee] didn't follow the order,” Garcia said.
Right next to CPDRC, home of the dancing inmates, is the Cebu City Jail, which has 210 patients as of Saturday, April 25.
Aside from the CPDRC, the other new cases recorded in the region were in the following areas:
- Cebu Province – 3
- Cebu City – 9
- Lapu-Lapu City – 2
- Mandaue City – 5
With the new cases, Central Visayas has 636 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, the DOH said.
The following is the distribution cases per area:
Bohol – 1
Cebu Province – 25
Negros Oriental – 4
Cebu City – 555
Lapu-Lapu City – 34
Mandaue City – 17
Siquijor province remains COVID-19 free. (READ: Over 20 provinces have zero coronavirus cases as of April 22 – tracker)
The Cebu City Jail has the highest number of coronavirus infections among inmates and personnel among all the jail facilities in the country. (READ: What you need to know about the Cebu City Jail)
The 2 other cases involved a 58-year-old from Barangay Lanao, Daanbantayan who had been undergoing dialysis. In a Facebook post, Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shiura said that the patient was considered a suspect case and was swabbed on April 25.
However, he was rushed to the hospital a few days later where he was declared dead, Shiura said.
The other patient is a 31-year-old female from Lower Pakigne, Minglanilla who was tested on April 27. She is confined at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.
Following protocol, contact-tracing for the new positive cases is now being conducted.
As of Tuesday, April 28, at least 551 cases have been reported in 11 provinces and 5 independent cities in the Visayas. (READ: Where are the coronavirus cases in the Visayas?)
Meanwhile, Garcia is set to sign an executive order laying down protocols for inmates who will be released following an April 20 Supreme Court order that grants liberty to those who have been detained longer than their minimum penalty, and those whose cases have been shelved in a move to decongest the country's jails.
In a meeting with judges, Garcia said that incorporated in the inmates' release orders is an agreement that the inmates will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period in identified areas prior to their release.
They will be swabbed and tested for the coronavirus disease on the 5th day of their quarantine. Only then will they be sent home. Still, it would be up to the mayors of their cities or towns whether or not they would be subjected to another 2-week long quarantine.
Garcia also said that the provincial government will be using the standard PCR testing kits for the targeted massive testing because it yields more accurate results compared to the Rapid Diagnostic Tests which they initially considered using.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that there are 8,212 new coronavirus cases, with 558 fatalities, and 1,023 recoveries. – Rappler.com