COVID-19 situation at Davao City police station worsens

Published October 12, 2020, 10:34 AM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The number of infected cases at the Toril Police Station continued to increase after 33 of 38 persons, who underwent swab tests on Thursday, tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This was confirmed by Toril Police Chief Maj. Michael S. Uyanguren on Monday who disclosed that 11 police officers, five police auxiliary members, and 12 detainees were the ones who tested positive.

That brought the total number of infections in the police station to 58.

Uyanguren confirmed that he, himself, tested positive based on the reverse transcription-polymerase chain react (RT-PCR) test results that were released on October 11.

He said all of them have remained in quarantine inside the police station, along with the 30 detainees, who were earlier reported to have tested positive based on a test conducted last October 1.

He said all of them were asymptomatic, which none of them were manifesting any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of smell and taste.

He said they were going to meet with local health authorities on Monday afternoon to decide if they could continue their quarantine in the station, or they should be transferred to designated quarantine facilities of the local government.

Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Assistant Regional Director Lenny Joy Rivera said that health authorities were conducting a case investigation to determine the index case, or the person who carried the virus into the station.

Uyanguren suspected that a detainee, who had contracted the infection before being arrested by authorities, might have brought the infection to the station.

“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 of the station were subjected to antibody-based RDT tests before being detained, according to him.

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

Local police authorities only learned that the infection had already spread inside the police station when 30 of its detainees were subjected to mandatory RT-PCR test on October 1 as a requirement for their transfer to Davao City Jail, which was under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-Davao.

The RT-PCR test results came out on October 3, which confirmed the outbreak, forcing Davao City Police Office director Kirby Kraft to immediately order a lockdown on the police station.

As of October 12, DOH-Davao reported that 3,610 cases in the region with 2,801 recoveries and 118 deaths.

Of the total cases, 2,363 cases were reported in Davao City, 242 in Davao de Oro, 391 in Davao del Norte, 241 in Davao del Sur, 88 in Davao Occidental, and 285 in Davao Oriental.