By Jonathan Hicap
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said 17 employees who tested positive in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) were brought to the government’s New Clark City facility for treatment.
On May 28, according to BuCor, the 17 personnel from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa and the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong were already at the We Heal As One Center in Capas, Tarlac.
Dr. Henry Fabro, chief of the BuCor Directorate for Health Service and Corrections Technical Chief Supt. John Paul Santos, Directorate for Administration, accompanied the BuCor employees to the treatment facility on May 22 and, as of May 28, BuCor said they are doing well.
The New Clark City COVID-19 treatment center does not admit those with pre-existing health conditions and who are senior citizens. With this, other COVID-19 positive BuCor employees with health conditions or who are at least 60 years old are instead accommodated at NBP.
As of May 25, there are 194 COVID-19 positive cases under BuCor: 161 prisoners and 33 employees. Six prisoners have died from the disease, while eight prisoners and three employees have recovered.
Of the 33 employees, 25 are from NBP, five from CIW, two from the national headquarters, and one from the NBP isolation area in the medium security compound.
Dir.-Gen. Gerald Bantag told COVID-19 positive employees that he was “saddened when I learned that many of you tested positive for COVID-19. Our colleagues and I will do our best to take care of you and make you feel comfortable in your temporary shelter.”
Meanwhile, 15 prisoners at BuCor’s San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City tested negative for COVID-19.
The inmates underwent swab tests for COVID-19 conducted by the Department of Health’s Zamboanga Peninsula Center for Health Development on May 20.
The testing was done to ensure that previous deaths in the prisoners’ dormitory were not related to COVID-19. The Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) emailed the results to BuCor on May 26, which indicated that the prisoners didn’t have COVID-19.