123 in Cebu City Jail test positive for coronavirus
CEBU CITY, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella said on Wednesday, April 22, that 123 individuals from the Cebu City Jail tested positive for coronavirus.
In a statement released late Wednesday night, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said that there are 114 inmates and 13 personnel infected with the pathogen.
This brings the total of positive cases in the Cebu City Jail to 127. (READ: Mass testing at Cebu City jail after inmate who died tests positive for coronavirus)
Four inmates had earlier tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The death of one of them prompted the mass testing at the city jail, which houses over 6,000 inmates, but was built to only hold a maximum of 1,500.
The 3 other inmates are in isolation.
Individuals who had contact with the 4 inmates were the first to be tested for the coronavirus during the mass testing done by the medical frontliners.
The new COVID-19 cases in the city jail, including 16 from different barangays had the city government dealing with 139 new patients in a single day.
It also drove up the number of coronavirus cases in Cebu City to 312 from a total of 173 recorded on Tuesday night, April 21.
The following is the breakdown of the 139 new cases in Cebu City:
- Cebu City Jail- 123
- Labangon- 9
- Barangay Luz- 3
- C. Padilla Street- 1
- Kasambagan- 1
- Inayawan- 1
- From unknown barangay- 1
(Editor's note: The Cebu City Health Office earlier listed one patient under its office. They clarified that it meant they could not identify which barangay the patient is from.)
"The new cases from Barangay Luz is a result of the mass testing we did in Sitio Cabantan. We will transfer these asymptomatic patients to Brgy Luz Night High School for isolation," Labella said.
Those with mild symptoms or asymptomatic residents of Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Luz, have already been transferred to an isolation facility in Barrio Luz Elementary School.
"In Cebu City Jail, they will assign their new building with a capacity of 3,000 individuals as their Isolation Facility," Labella said on Facebook.
"Treatment and management of mild to moderate cases will be done by the medical personnel."
Jails are among the most vulnerable areas during a pandemic, due to their crowded conditions. (READ: 'Takot na takot kami': While government stalls, coronavirus breaks into PH jails)
Recommended physical distancing measures are nearly impossible to enforce in overpopulated prisons.
Advocacy groups have been campaigning for the early release of sickly and the elderly prisoners to decongest the jails.
In a bid to decongest jails, the Supreme Court on Monday, April 20, ordered judges to release prisoners who fall under a 2014 guideline on jail decongestion.
Also on Wednesday, Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said in a press conference that the 139 new coronavirus cases from Cebu City have not yet been verified by the Department of Health (DOH).
This was after the DOH announced that there were only 111 validated new coronavirus cases as of April 22. (READ: PH coronavirus cases climb to 6,710, death toll now at 446)
The 139 new cases in Cebu City have been validated by the Cebu City Health Office and the DOH Region 7.
Often, regional health offices and local government units announce their validated figures to the public before they are accounted for and reconciled by the DOH in Manila.
The numbers confirmed in Cebu City will likely reflect in the DOH's consolidated reports in the coming days. – Rappler.com