THE TORIL Police Station was placed on lockdown after 30 male detainees tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, 22 personnel, including members of the police auxiliary, were quarantined for possible exposure.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal, the director of Police Regional Office XI, said the isolation is only a preemptive measure as they await the swab test results of their personnel.
Davao City Police Office chief, Col. Kirby John Kraft, ordered the lockdown of Toril Police Station, but Escobal insisted that there was no disruption in their services.
“The Toril Police Station was the only one locked down while for the Toril proper, it is the discretion of the task force (Davao),” He added.
Kraft said he immediately ordered to quarantine the personnel when he learned about the report.
“Since they are inside the police station, so immediately isolated those inside the station,” Kraft said.
In a separate phone interview, Maj. Michael Uyanguren, the commander of thee Toril Police Station, clarified that they have not confirmed any of their personnel who tested positive for the deadly virus.
“Maybe they are already a carrier while they are inside but they undergo an RDT (rapid diagnostic test) (after apprehension),” he said. “I just don’t know why it developed inside, maybe it is true that the RDT test is not that really accurate.”
He said all the male detainees were drug suspects who were recently detained. They tested negative in the RDT screening, which was why they were thrown inside the jail.
According to Uyanguren, the 30 detainees were scheduled to be committed at the Davao City Jail in Barangay Ma-a. As part of the protocol, they were subjected to a swab test and the results turned out to be positive.
The Toril station detention cell is designed to accommodate 45 detainees. There were 43 suspects inside when they conducted the swab tests. The 13 remaining inmates were already isolated in the old building since they have yet to undergo a swab test.
Two female detainees tested negative in the initial swab tests, but they are scheduled for a follow-up screening. “So, we are requesting for another round of swab testing for the remaining (inmates),” he added.
Uyanguren said they don’t need police augmentation because only 22 personnel, including him, rendering duty inside the station were isolated. Most of their police officers were out on the field on patrols and checkpoints.
“Those mobile patrolers, foot patrols, and others are still functional,” he added.
The City Health Office has already conducted disinfection inside the police station.
Kraft also said it is a standard operating procedure to lock down a precinct when one personnel tests positive for COVID-19.
“But those personnel who are patroling outside will still continue to provide police visibility in the area,” he further said.
He also said that police stations have the required safety and sanitation procedures for visitors and personnel. “We are strict on those going inside. They will be subject to a temperature check, sanitization, and the foot bath,” he said.
Finally, Kraft advised police officers to self-quarantine when they notice the onset of symptoms or if they are not feeling well.
Based on the record of the Police Regional Office XI, there were 30 police officers who contracted the virus as of Oct. 6, 2020. To date, there are only seven active cases with 23 recoveries.
The Southern Philippines Medical Center revealed in an advisory dated Oct. 6 that there are already 87 positive cases in Toril.
Yesterday, the Barangay Toril Proper celebrated its annual feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, but all activities were suspended to avoid mass gatherings and enforce physical distancing. Residents are still advised to stay at home and only go out for essential activities.