KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 13 February) — Health authorities here have expanded their contact tracing activities as 33 more inmates in the detention center of the city police station tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total of infected inmates to 54.
Dr. Edito Vego, acting head of the City Health Office (CHO), said Saturday the additional infections were among 42 new cases recorded in the city by the Department Health-Region 12 as of Friday night.
He said it included two police officers and seven other residents, including a family of four, from Barangays Sto, Nino, Carpenter Hill and Zone 4-Poblacion
Vego said the confirmed Covid-19 cases among detainees of the city police station has reached 54 from the initial 21 detected early this week. Eleven others tested negative.
He said all the infected inmates, two them elderly and have possible co-morbidities, are already isolated and being closely monitored by health workers.
“They remain in stable condition as of this time and have not manifested any major signs and symptoms,” he said in an interview over radio station Bombo Radyo.
Vego said they are currently backtracking and tracing all individuals who have visited the facility since December 27 last year.
He said it was possible that the spread of Covid-19 cases at the crowded city police station lockup actually started as early as December.
Vego urged residents who visited the facility since late last year to monitor their health status and immediately inform the barangay health emergency response teams or BHERTS in case they manifest any suspected symptom.
CHO personnel subjected some of the inmates to swab testing after finding suspected symptoms of the disease among them during a medical checkup last week.
At least 21 of them tested positive, prompting the local government to subject all remaining inmates as well as several city police personnel to undergo swab testing.
Six CHO workers, including two doctors who were exposed to the infected inmates during the medical checkup were also quarantined.
Vego said the detention facility will remain restricted for at least 21 days based on the mandated protocols to properly contain the disease and prevent new infections.
He said they provided the inmates with necessary medicines like antibiotics, vitamins and face masks.
Vego said they recommended to city police officials the isolation of all newly arrived detainees and separate those who were infected.
The city police station lockup currently has a total of 65 inmates or three-folds more than its ideal capacity of 20.
As of Friday night, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city already reached a total of 662, with 16 related deaths, but 556 or about 84 percent of the patients have so far recovered.
Vego said most of the 90 active cases only have mild symptoms and expected to recover while some of them were asymptomatic.
He advised residents who have traveled outside of Region 12 (Soccsksargen), especially in areas with high cases of COVID-19, to undergo self-quarantine upon arrival.
“The protocol for everyone is still the same: wear face masks, face shields, practice regular hand sanitation and observe safe physical distancing. This is the only way to protect ourselves as we wait for the rollout of the vaccines,” he said. (MindaNews)