PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas yesterday said there are still a total of 439 ‘active COVID-19 cases’ in the force being monitored by the PNP Health Service amid their effort to ensure that their personnel, specifically those assigned in Metro Manila which remains the center of the pandemic will be tested for the virus.
As of yesterday, there have been 27 COVID-19 deaths in the PNP since last March 16 although 8,112 of the 8,578 policemen who contracted the virus have already fully recovered from the disease are now back to full duty status. Of the 27 COVID-19 deaths in the PNP, one is from Camp Crame, 10 from different PNP National Operational Support Units while 16 are from the Police Regional Offices.
PNP-HS director, Brigadier Gen. Nolasco K. Bathan said there were 11,631 policemen who were monitored to have been infected by the virus but 1,222 of them were described as Persons Under Monitoring or with close contact with infected ones while 932 are suspected Persons Under Investigation and 899 are Probable PUIs.
Of the 439 ‘active cases,’ 99 are assigned at the PNP National Headquarters; 124 in different NOSUs while 216 are from the different PROs.
Sinas said that of the 439, a total of 25 policemen are still in the hospital while 414 are currently confined in PNP quarantine facilities,
Of the recovered cases, 204 are from the NHQ; 2,200 from different NSUs and 5,708 from the different PROs.
PNP-ASCOTF TO MAXIMIZE COPS’ COVID-19 TESTING
On orders of Sinas, the Administrative Support for COVID-19 Task Force (ASCOTF) headed by Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said it has initiated an aggressive mass testing on PNP personnel in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in various police units especially in areas with high cases of the virus.
Eleazar, also the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration said the aggressive mass testing wherein the result will be released within 24-hours after fluid samples are taken will also protect the family of police personnel and the community they live in since early detection is important in addressing the pandemic.
“We have to maximize the conduct of mass testing among our personnel. In this way, we would be able to immediately isolate those who would be tested positive and give them proper care and eventually stop the transfer of the virus,” the official said.
Eleazar, however. said that with the main thrust of Sinas on aggressive testing, they expect the number of COVID-19 patients in the police force to rise.
“We are expecting na tataas o dadami ang magpositive, but it is just logical dahil nagtetest ng madami. Nakita na namin na maraming nagpositive pero asymptomatic, hindi nila alam na me virus sila,. Kaya don’t be alarmed if the number goes up,” he said.
The official said they want an aggressive mass testing in order to save the police, their family and the rest of the community they live in and serve.
As of yesterday, Eleazar said 38.7 percent of the police force have been subjected to a COVID-19 testing at least once, with the concentration in Metro Manila with its 38,000 policemen and non-uniformed personnel coming from the National Capital Region Police Office and the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame as well as around 4,500 personnel from different PNP National Operatonal Support Units assigned in the metropolis.
“Ang ma-maximize natin ay yung sa NCR kasi nandito ang epicenter kaya pinalakas ang testing, up to 420 test daily, and we have the correct data thru CODA which was activated last Sunday. WE have required all our personnel to have their own CODA before undergoing a swab test,” said Eleazar.
At present, the PNP has isolation facilities in Camp Bagong Diwa and Southern Police District headquarters, Ultra, Nice Hotel and the Philippine International Convention Center. Camp Crame’s Kiangan Hall also has a 60-bed isolation facility equipped with medical equipment.
To date, 85,623 policemen have underwent an RT-PCR test including 2,092 in Camp Crame; 22,273 from NOSUs and 61,258 in PROs. The PNP has a total of 221,038 personnel.
Eleazar said that while the PNP has two molecular laboratories based at tCamp Crame in Quezon City that could accommodate 420 tests a day, there were cases that the number of PNP personnel being tested did not reach 100.
“We are now coming up with a protocol to test as many of our personnel. Priority areas of these aggressive testing are Metro Manila and other areas with high COVID-19 cases,” he said.
“Part of this protocol is conduct regular tests on our personnel who are assigned as front-liners and those who are conducting regular law enforcement operations such as personnel of our anti-illegal drugs forces and other units who are on the field running after criminal elements,” he explained.
Eleazar said that since time is an essential element against COVID-19, they target to conduct a 24/7 testing of their personnel and the release of the result within 24-hours of the test.
“We are also continuously improving our COVID-19 testing database and that is the reason why those who were tested in our laboratories would get the result of the swab test through SMS,” he said.
By having a PNP database on COVID-19 for all its personnel, Eleazar said they will also strengthen the proper contact-tracing, which he said, is essential in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19.
The official said the PNP database on COVID-19 would contain the necessary information that would make it easier for the PNP to facilitate the testing and even contact-tracing to those who came in close contact with their personnel who would test positive for the virus.
“We are continuously implementing improvements to serve our personnel. The bottomline here is to help our police personnel so we can sustain the operation of the PNP in the service of the Filipino while waiting for the vaccine,” he said.