CAGAYAN DE ORO – The Department of Health in Region 10 (DOH-10) emphasized on Tuesday, October 27, the need for efficient management of detention facilities to prevent a spillover of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections into neighboring communities.
Dr. Adriano Suba-an, DOH-10 director, said closed spaces such as detention or jail facilities should be closely monitored because a possible spillover could further contribute to the region’s number of COVID-19 cases.
Suba-an noted that such closed spaces fall under the so-called “three big Cs” that are prone to COVID-19 transmission, the other two being “crowded places” and “close-contact settings”.
He said the DOH is closely coordinating with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP-10) to plan to protect the residents inside their facilities.
“The advantage of the setting is that they are already inside an enclosed area, and they could no longer infect others,” Suba-an said.
Meanwhile, BJMP-10 is still imposing a total lockdown on all of its facilities since March 20, said Arnel M. Agabe, Region 10 director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which leads the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Covid-19.
“All of the jail facilities of BJMP-10 have been declared under total lockdown. No visitors are allowed,” he said during the weekly COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.
As mandated by IATF, Agabe said jail personnel are temporarily prevented from entering or leaving the jail and its premises. The changing of jail guards is also handled carefully based on prevailing COVID-19 containment protocols.
Agabe said all medical practitioners in jail facilities should also be on duty 24/7 to attend to medical emergencies.
In this city alone, 112 COVID-19 cases have been recorded from persons deprived of liberty from October 1 to 19.
“Newly committed PDLs are quarantined for 14 days, and swab test is done in coordination with the LGU (local government unit) concerned,” Agabe said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Oscar Moreno said the city’s retention of its modified general community (MGCQ) status until November 30 was an indication that the enforcement of minimum health protocols and opening of the economy are not “mutually exclusive.”
“I’m not speaking for the IATF, but you can see the trend in our country and even overseas. And that trend is that so long as minimum health protocols are in place, one can handle both protection of public health and sustaining the economy together,” Moreno following President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval to ease quarantine restrictions nationwide on Monday.
Along with Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental, and Lanao del Norte were also placed under MGCQ while Iligan City and Lanao del Sur are on general community quarantine (GCQ).
As of Wednesday, the city has recorded a cumulative total of 1,567 cases with 537 active cases, 962 recoveries, and 68 deaths.