CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 30 Sep) – An entire force of 27 policemen here have contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), prompting officials to temporarily close the precinct for several hours for disinfection.
Dr. Joselito Retuya, City Health Office epidemiologist, said 27 members of the police precinct in Cogon public market have been found positive of COVID-19 using the real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test.
Just as the news of the policemen in Cogon getting infected spread like wildfire, medical personnel rushed to the precinct in Barangay Puntod to swab test 41 more policemen, according to Major Ivan Viñas, Cagayan de Oro Police Office spokesperson.
“The 27 policemen found positive will be quarantined for 14 days while the 41 policemen are under observation waiting for the test results,” he added
All the infected policemen, however, were asymptomatic, said Viñas.
He said the 27 policemen were replaced by a new set of police officers from the Cagayan de Oro Police Office Mobile Force.
But the Cogon precinct had to be closed for several hours Wednesday for disinfection, Viñas noted.
He pointed out that the health protocol of the city police force is under review following the infection of so many policemen in Cogon, the busiest market in Cagayan de Oro.
At the start of the pandemic last March, Viñas said plastic acetates were installed in every police precinct in the city as health safeguard.
“We have issued bottles of alcohol, facemasks and face shields to protect our policemen,” he said.
Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police in Region 10, said they would deploy more policemen to augment the 900-strong city police force if necessary.
Hortillosa said the PNP Regional Mobile Group can be deployed to Cagayan de Oro from Iligan City where they have been deployed to replace policemen infected with the virus. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)