More than 400 detainees from the Davao City Police Office headquarters and 12 police stations tested negative following the rapid diagnostic testing for COVID-19 on Monday.
Col. Kirby John B. Kraft, the DCPO chief, said that they initiated the test after the reported contamination of jail facilities in Cebu, Zamboanga, and Quezon City.
Yesterday, a total of 448 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) underwent rapid testing.
“We have conducted rapid testing to our detainees in order to determine if they are COVID-free,” Kraft said. ” Also, we can protect our personnel watching over them.”
If a detainee tested positive, they will coordinate with the Department of Health XI and the COVID Operation Center for the confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
The 448 detainees came from police stations of Calinan, Baguio, Marilog, and DCPQ headquarters- Investigation Detection Management Branch (IDMB).
In coordination with the city government and City Health Office, through Dra. Joy Villafuerte, the DCPO will subject all detainees in all police stations for rapid diagnostic testing as a protocol. A detained suspect will also be tested before he or she will enter the custodial facility.
Kraft said the rapid test would provide quick real-time data to protect not just the detainees but the custodial officers, as well.
“The rapid blood test will help us immediately identify who has been exposed to the virus–whether they have symptoms or not so that appropriate and more aggressive measures can be taken to reduce the number of people who come into contact with the virus and decrease its transmission,” he said.
On May 7, 39 police nurses from different police stations underwent a short training facilitated by the medical staff of the City Health Office to enhance their skills on how to conduct the rapid test. These nurses will be deployed to different police stations.
“The 1,360 kits were provided by the city government of Davao and we are thankful that they have supported and acknowledged this initiative of ours to better protect the welfare of our detainees,” Kraft said.
He added that given the cramped situation in the jail facilities, these people are very susceptible to the virus because they do not have the ability to observe social distancing. “We have been protecting the public and that includes the health and safety of our inmates,” he further said.