CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – A total lockdown was imposed at the Pampanga Provincial Jail (PPJ) here after an inmate reportedly died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
According to Provincial Jail Warden Edwin Mangaliman, the deceased inmate, 54, was brought to the JBL Hospital at 10 a.m. on October 26, and expired on the same day.
Subsequent test showed that he was positive for COVID-19.
“Sa ngayon naka total lockdown na po tayo dito. Confined sila lahat sa selda at yung nagluluto lamang ang pwede lumabas. Suspended din lahat ng importanteng activities pati ang face-to-face court hearing at maging ang video-conferencing,’’ Mangaliman said in an interview.
He disclosed that the senior inmate was among the 124 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) being kept at cell No. 12.
On October 29, Governor Dennis Pineda convened a meeting with all concerned departments, including the Provincial Health Office (PHO), Philippine National Police (PNP), General Services Office (GSO), Provincial Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO), the Provincial Administrator and the Provincial Warden to address and act swiftly to prevent an outbreak of the disease inside the local jail.
Mangaliman said that a team from the PHO, through Dr. Darwin Cruz has been assigned to access and interview the contacts of the inmate, and issue recommendations that would slow the spread of the virus inside the prison cell.
The team is also expected to access inmates confined at cell Nos. 11 and 13, which are in close proximity to cell 12.
As of Friday, 34 personnel have undergone swab tests, and have been recommended to undergo 14-day quarantine as part of the overall health protocol to mitigate the impact of the viral disease.
The jail warden said that the second batch of personnel will also have themselves tested. The provincial jail currently has 76 personnel.
“Lahat ng health safety protocols ay nai-implement naman natin. Wala tayong visitation since March 17,” he said.
Aside from the regular testing, the agency is also requiring the wearing of face masks and face shields, disinfection of strategic areas, and frequent hand-washing.
Asked about the situation of the inmates inside the affected cell, Mangaliman said: “So far wala tayo nakikitang kakaiba o may mga sakit sa kanila. Pero maaring asymptomatic yung iba and we are closely monitoring them.’’
The senior inmate was the first COVID-19 death recorded from the PPJ. The first COVID-19 case was a 60-year old jail personnel from Angeles City. He has recovered, and is set to be discharged from the hospital.