PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Debold M. Sinas yesterday said a total of 179 PNP-owned and supervised quarantine facilities with a 2,626-bed capacity are now fully operational to cater to their officers and men who are daily exposed to COVID-19 virus.
As of last March 16, the PNP chief said that there are already a total of 8,354 COVID-19 cases in the police force with 7,890 recoveries, 27 deaths and 437 active cases.
Gen. Sinas has ordered the regular testing of his men for the virus and disallowed home quarantine for personnel suspected of having acquired the virus.
Since he took over as the 25th PNP chief last November 10, the top cop has ordered all suspected COVID-19 patients on the force to be immediately transferred to PNP-run treatment facilities, specifically at the National Capital Region Police Office facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.
As of yesterday, PNP Health Service director Brigadier Gen. Nolasco K. Bathan said that a total of 68,124 police personnel have been subjected to RT-PCR tests. Of the number, 1,675 are based in Camp Crame; 14,006 assigned in different PNP National Operational Support Units and 52,443 in the 17 Police Regional Offices.
The PNP chief said that of the 179 quarantine facilities being run by the PNP with 2,626 beds, 13 can be found at the NCRPO with a total of 796 beds.
“Strictly no more home quarantine for all members of the police force. What I want is an early detection by having our front-liners undergo regular swab tests using RT-PCR,” Gen. Sinas said.
Of the 8,354 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the PNP, 279 are from the PNP National Headquarters, 1,844 from the different NSUs and 6,231 assigned in the 17 PROs.
Of the 437 ‘active cases,’ 24 are from the NHQ, 81 from the NSUs and 332 from the PROs.
Of the 27 fatalities, 1 came from the NHQ, 11 from NSUs and 15 from the PROs.
MASSIVE CONTACT TRACING UNDERWAY—ELEAZAR
PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and concurrent commander of the Administrative Support for COVID-19 Task Force, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, in the same press briefing with Gen. Sinas said they are embarking on a massive contact tracing program as part of their effort to win the war against the killer virus.
“Ang gusto namin is to prevent the spread of disease particularly sa PNP. Ang pinaguusapan dito eh contact tracing, alamin kung saan galing and we have to conduct tests. Right now, the focused of the Chief,PNP is to maximize the conduct of testing among all our personnel now that we have two molecular laboratories already,” the PNP’s no. 2 official said.
According to Lt. Gen. Eleazar, the two molecular labs being run by the PNP Crime Laboratory and the Health Service can generate 420 tests every day. However, they conducted a study on why the two labs failed to test 420 people everyday in the past.
To address the problem, the official said they will be prioritizing those with COVID-19 symptoms. According to him, the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management headed by Major Gen. Israel Ephraim T. Dickson will identify the 420 police personnel who will be tested daily, 7-days a week.
He said that another problem they encountered is the information from persons to be tested. Thus, they improved their previous Contact Tracing Data Information System to the PNP COVID-19 Data which has been simplified.
It means that an individual police personnel being tested only needs to give his/her basic information like name, age, address and office for speedy processing. “It’s as simple as it is: name, age, address, contact numbers for easy processing,” Eleazar said.
The official said that they have also ordered the PNP-HS to speed-up their swabbing from 6 to 8 in the morning before forwarding the test to the Crime Laboratory. “Within 24-hours, there should be a result,” he explained.
According to Lt. Gen. Eleazar, they also discovered that they only have to molecular pathologists who certifies on the test result. “We saw the previous reporting system. Hindi agad ma-release dahil kailangan ng certification ng melocular pathologists from Crime Lab and Health Service. For us to be able to start our contact tracing, our PNP CODA, once me result na sa Health Service and Crime Lab, automatic makakareceive ang tested,” he said.
Eleazar said that so far, they haven’t received errors in the swab test results being conducted by the Health Service and the Crime Lab.
“Now that we have the CODA simplified, I am sure na 100 percent eh ma-test lahat. In the first place, how can we do proper contact tracing kung hindi pa natest lahat, “ he said.
Lt. Gen. Eleazar said they have also asked their men to make full use of their daily diaries to serve as a simple contact tracing kit. “Yung diary nami ay Malaki ang maitutulong sa contact tracing kasi alam ng gagamit into kung anong oras, saang place me nakasama. Yung hindi na magiimbento kung sino nakasama at kung saan at kung anong oras,” he said.
Eleazar said that through the testing of all policemen for COVID-19, all their members will be very much aware of the need to protect themselves and their families from the virus by observing all health protocols like wearing of face masks and face shields and social distancing.
“Kasi pag alam ng personnel na lagi silang itetest at kung ikaw ay magpa-positive, dadalhin ka sa quarantine facilities, ikaw na mismo ang mag=iingat sa sarili mo until me vaccine na,” he said.
Gen. Sinas has ordered that all policemen who tested positive for COVID-19 must be treated in a PNP-run quarantine facility, with no exemptions. As a result, three police generals who tested positive for COVID-19 last week are still confined at the NCRPO special treatment facility.