52 GenSan jail inmates test positive for COVID-19

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 May) — City Jail personnel here have placed in individual cells 52 inmates who tested positive to coronavirus SARSCOV-2 , the virus that causes COVID-19.

Jail Supt. Metz Milton Placencia, the jail warden, said the infected inmates are all male whose ages range from 20 to 59.

DESERTED PARK. Not a soul in sght in this park usually brimming with Sunday churchgoers and families as General Santos City implements a no-movement Sunday to help avert a rise in COVID-19 cases in the city. GenSan authorities eye possible penalties like community service for violators of health protocols and ordinances following a noted daily surge in new Covid19 cases. MindaNews Photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO

This is the first time that their strict measure against COVID-19, including a no visitor policy at the jail, was breached, Placencia said

The infected inmates comprise the bulk of 83 new COVID-19 cases in this city on May 25 as reported by the city health office in their daily COVID-19 tracker.

The city jail has a population of 1,267 prisoners. It is run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Purok Lanton, barangay Apopong, some eight kilometers from the city proper.

Placencia said the 52 infected inmates were among 76 detainees who were admitted to the prison facility on May 3. He traced the infection of the inmates to a batch of detainees from the San Isidro Police Station in this city.

The jail official said the inmates “were all in stable condition and showed no signs of symptoms.”

Placencia said three inmates – a female, and two males age 37 and 47, who were transferred to the city jail on May 3, yielded positive when they were subjected to anti-gen and RT-PCR swab tests.

The test results on the three inmates, prompted jail authorities to put on a 21-day quarantine the other detainees who were admitted to the jail from other police stations on May 3.

A subsequent testing on them found the 52 inmates infected, Placencia said.

Placencia said they learned on May 6 about a lady inmate possibly infected after another lady detainee at the San Isidro Police Station tested positive.

The lady detainee, who was taken to a hospital, shared a cell with the female detainee who was committed to the city jail.

This city saw a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases the past several days, with all seven major hospitals declaring full capacity for COVID. There is so far 112 deaths recorded as of May 25 by authorities.

Barangay San Isidro here is listed as having the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.

Placencia lamented that they were not informed on the condition of the inmates before they were moved from the San Isidro Police Station.

“Had they told us about the status of the detainees, we would not have accepted them knowing that they will put at risk the health of the inmates and jail personnel.” (Rommel G Rebollido / MindaNews)