DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 October) — Twenty-eight detainees and personnel at the Toril police station here have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the station’s total cases to 58, a top official said Monday.
Major Michael Uyanguren, Toril police station chief, said the 28 were part of the 38 individuals whose swab samples were tested using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing last Thursday.
In a phone interview, he said the latest COVID-19 positives include 11 police officers, five police auxiliary members and 12 detainees.
Uyanguren confirmed that he also tested positive for the virus based on the RT-PCR results that were released on October 11.
He said all of them have remained in quarantine inside the police station, along with the 30 detainees who were earlier reported to have tested positive through the RT-PCR testing conducted on October 1.
He said all of them are asymptomatic, which means they are not manifesting any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and loss of smell or taste.
He said they have a scheduled meeting with local health authorities on Monday afternoon to decide if they would continue their quarantine in the station or would be transferred to the designated quarantine facilities of the local government.
Lenny Joy Rivera, Department of Health (DOH) – Davao assistant regional director, said that health authorities are conducting a case investigation to determine the source of the virus that infected people in the police station.
Uyanguren suspected that a detainee, who may have contracted the infection before being arrested by authorities, might have brought the infection to the station.
“Most probably, the virus came from a detainee who got it from outside. When he was arrested, the RDT (rapid diagnostic test) did not detect the virus,” he said.
All detainees of the station were subjected to an antibody-based RDT test before being detained, according to him.
“RDT was not reliable in detecting the virus,” he said.
Local police authorities only learned that the infection had already spread inside the police station when 30 of its detainees were subjected to a mandatory RT-PCR test on October 1 as a requirement for their transfer to the Davao City Jail, which is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology – Davao.
The RT-PCR test results came out on October 3, which confirmed the outbreak, forcing Davao City Police Office director Kirby Kraft to immediately order a lockdown on the police station.
As of October 12, DOH-Davao reported 3,610 COVID-19 cases in the region with 2,801 recoveries and 118 deaths.
Of the total cases, 2,363 were reported in Davao City, 242 in Davao de Oro, 391 in Davao del Norte, 241 in Davao del Sur, 88 in Davao Occidental, and 285 in Davao Oriental.