Access and movements at the detention facility of the city police station have been temporarily restricted after 21 of its inmates tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Dr. Edito Vego, acting head of the City Health Office (CHO), said Tuesday extensive contact tracing activities are ongoing to determine the extent of exposure and the possible origin of the infections, the first for the facility since the onset of the pandemic last year.
He said they are looking at three circumstances or scenarios that could have caused the spread of the disease at the lockup facility.
Vego said the disease might have been brought by infected family members or friends who previously visited one of the inmates, new detainees who could have contracted the virus and infected jail and police personnel.
“These are just possibilities and still subject to investigation and validation,” he said in a radio interview.
The official said the infected inmates are isolated and under close monitoring by health workers, with special attention being given those with possible co-morbidities.
He said the remaining detainees at the facility are also being monitored and considered as possibly infected pending additional testing.
Vego said city police chief, Lt. Col. Joefel Siason, has temporarily disallowed visits to the inmates based on their recommendation.
He said they are working on more measures to facilitate the proper observance of health protocols within the detention facility, especially in the processing of new inmates.
The official said they have set a regular disinfection in coordination with the city police.
He said the identified jail and city health personnel who had close contact with the infected inmates are undergoing quarantine and will be subjected to Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction testing.
These include two doctors and four other nurses and midwives of the CHO who had handled the patients, he said.
As of Tuesday morning, the confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city reached a total of 618, with 16 related deaths, but 549 or 88.8 percent of the patients have fully recovered.
Vego said most of the current 53 active cases, including the 21 detainees, only have moderate symptoms while some are asymptomatic.