A RETIRING police non-commissioned officer this week became the 22nd COVID-19 fatality in the 209,000-strong Philippine National Police, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
Described as PNP Patient No. 6934, the fatality was described as a 55-year old PNCO assigned at the Bangsamoro Administrative Region Police Regional Office. The cop passed away last Thursday, said the PNP Health Service headed by Brigadier General Ronaldo E. Olay.
However, the official said that 6,318 of the total 6,955 officers and men of the police force who have contracted the virus since last March have recovered from the disease and are back to full duty status.
He added that they are still monitoring 615 ‘active cases’ in the PNP as of press time.
The 21st fatality was described as a 45-year old PNCO from the Police Regional Office 4-A in Calabarzon region who expired last October 16.
The 20th fatality was identified as a 50-year old PNCO from the National Capital Region Police Office while the 19th is a 51-year old PNCO from the Police Security and Protection Group.
The 18th was a 54-year old Police Commissioned Officer from a Regional Maritime Unit who died last October 5.
On Friday, the PNP-HS recorded 28 new COVID-19 cases in the force, 5 of them each coming from the PRO2 in Cagayan Valley, PRO3 in Central Luzon and PRO10 in Northern Mindanao.
The others are the following: four from NCRPO; two each form PRO1 in Ilocos-Pangasinan region and PRO4-A; and one each from PRO6 in Western Visayas, PRO9 in Western Mindanao, PRO12 in Central Mindanao, Cordillera police regional office and a PNP National Administrative Support Unit.
Last September 18, the PNP-HS reported the 17th COVID-19 fatality in the police organization: a 28-year old PNCO from the NCRPO who succumbed to medical co-morbidities and complications aggravated by the virus.
PNP chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan said the opening of another molecular laboratory in Camp Crame has been speeding-up the testing for COVID-19 virus of all police personnel.
The PNP chief said the laboratory being run by the PNP-HS is the newest PNP-operated testing hub for the detection of COVID-19 infections. “It should be noted that recovery rate of PNP COVID cases is at 71.6 percent consistent with rates posted on a national scale,” Gen. Cascolan said..
PNP spokesman, Colonel Ysmael S. Yu said that at present, there is already an existing and operational RT-PCR Laboratory in Camp Crame being run by the PNP Crime Lab. Another PNP-operated RT-PCR facility in Cebu City has also been constructed and is now in the initial stages of the licensing process to fully operationalize the COVID testing facility for Central Visayas police personnel.
All these three laboratories have a daily testing capacity of 150-180.
Gen. Cascolan has ordered the PNP-HS to further improve their handling of COVID-19 patients. The PNP is also coming up with more quarantine centers and testing hubs soon to cater to members of the force who have contracted the dreaded COVID-19 virus and need to undergo isolation and treatment.
At present, the PNP is already operating and managing seven quarantine and testing facilities in the country.