Personnel, detainees at Davao police station tested for virus

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 October) – At least 22 personnel and 15 detainees of the Toril Police Station in Davao City were swabbed for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Thursday after they came in close contact with 30 detainees who tested positive for the infection, PMaj. Michael S. Uyanguren said on Friday.

Frontliners at a checkpoint in Toril, Davao City inspect vehicles during the first Monday of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) implementation in the city on 18 May 2020. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO

The test was done five days after the positive results of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests on the 30 detainees were released.

Uyanguren, one of those who were swabbed, said the RT-PCR test results will come out on Sunday.

The police station was immediately placed on lockdown while the 15 detainees were moved to a separate building.

All those who were tested have been placed on mandatory quarantine at the police station since Saturday.

Uyanguren said the COVID-19-positive detainees took the virus test as a requirement for their transfer to the Davao City Jail in Maa, which is run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Davao.

In a previous interview, Uyanguren suspected that the virus might have been brought by a detainee who had contracted it prior to his arrest.

“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, and the symptoms just developed while in detention,” he said.

All detainees at the station were subjected to an antibody-based RDT test before they were brought in, he said.

“RDT is not reliable in detecting the virus,” he said.

As part of the lockdown measure, he said visitors are not allowed inside the station while the minimum health protocols are strictly observed among personnel on quarantine such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks and face shields.

He said police officers and other personnel with no direct contact were holding office in a separate building of the station. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)