Ilocos region police HQ placed on lockdown after 25 cops test positive for COVID-19

 CAMP BGEN OSCAR M FLORENDO, La Union – Ilocos Region Police Director Brig. Gen. Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. has placed the regional police headquarters under indefinite lockdown starting on Monday after 25 policemen tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

 “Starting on Monday, we are not allowing visitors to enter into our regional headquarters as we abide the quarantine protocols containing the possible spread of the COVID – 19 virus. However, our work operations are continuing inside the headquarters because we have a skeleton workforce to perform our daily tasks,” he said.

He said that not all the offices in the regional headquarters have positive COVID – 19 cases. Almost all of the policemen, who tested positive, were assigned at the mobile force company stationed in the regional headquarters, and were deployed as frontliners manning the different border checkpoints in the region.

“Our police personnel are physically and mentally exhausted, hence, they are immuno-compromised. It is, therefore, necessary to take immediate actions in order to address this rising health emergency within our ranks,” he said.

He assured that the indefinite lockdown will automatically be lifted as soon as all of the police personnel assigned in the regional police headquarters are cleared of the coronavirus.

Azurin also announced that, since the beginning of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on March 16, the number of policemen, who have tested positive for COVID-19, has reached 56. But, 31 cases were already recovered, while 25 are still active cases.

Of the 25 active cases, two have manifested mild symptoms while 23 were asymptomatic.

Of these cases, only one is currently admitted in a hospital, one under strict home quarantine and 23 in isolation facilities.

Azurin attributed the rapid increase in the number of infected cases in the police regional office to the conduct of massive swab testing on all personnel, after a few of its officers tested positive for the disease.

On Monday, he said that a total of 856 or 10 percent of the 8,631 of the Regional Headquarters, down to police stations, has undergone reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. These included personnel, who were considered close contacts of the positive cases, while the remaining 90 percent of the personnel are all scheduled for swab testing.

Azurin also ordered Regional Health Service chief, police Colonel Jessiemyr Protacio and  police Lieutenant Colonel Relly Arnedo of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division to conduct immediate contact tracing for all infected personnel.