COVID-19 cases in PNP surge to 1,932

A TOTAL of 136 new COVID-19 cases were recorded by the Philippine National Police on Saturday, 70 of them from the Regional Training Center in Cebu City and 32 from the National Capital Region Police Office.

The new cases brought to 1,932 the total number of confirmed cases of virus in the police force where 725 other police personnel are still considered as Probable Persons Under Investigation and 2,449 are Suspected PUIs.

Since last March, a total of 10 policemen have already succumbed to COVID019 injuries while 706 have recovered from the disease.

A report from the PNP Public Information Office said that apart from the 70 from RTC 7 and 32 from the NCRPO, the other new COVID-19 cases in the PNP are 9 from the Police Regional Office 4-A; 6 from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group;  3 each from the Special Action Force and Police Security and Protection Group; 2 each from Police Regional Offices 7,10, Police Community Affairs and Development Group and Headquarters Support Service; and 1 each from the Cordillera Police Regional Office, the PNP National Headquarter, Civil Security Group, Drug Enforcement Group and Aviation Security Group.

On Saturday, a 10th policeman was added to the list of COVID-19 fatalities.

He was described by the PNP Health Service as a 46-year old Police Commissioned Officer assigned at the PNP national headquarters who expired last Wednesday.

Another member of the Northern Police District with the rank of Police Executive Master Sergeant on Friday also died of suspected COVID while confined in a local hospital. The victim’s death was said to have been caused by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and severe community-acquired pneumonia.

The policeman who has been described as a probable COVID-19 case was subjected to a swab test although the result is yet to be released.

Last Friday, PNP spokesman, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac sai , there were 35 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the police force, 29 of them from the National Capital Region Police Office; 2 from the PNP Special Action Force; and one each from the PNP-NHQ, the Police Regional Office 4-B; the Cordillera Police Regional Office and the National Police Training Institute based in Canlubang, Laguna.

PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and concurrent commander of the PNP Administrative Support to COVID-19 Operations Task Force, Lieutenant Gen. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan  said he has ordered PNP Health Service director, Brig. Gen. Herminio S. Tadeo Jr. to fully address complaints regarding their handling of COVID-19 patients.

The official was reacting to a complaint that that 10th fatality who was from the PNP Internal Affairs Service sought treatment from the PNP General Hospital but was advised to transfer to another private hospital.

The official was forced to go to another Quezon City government hospital where he passed away a day after reportedly being turned away at the PNP-GH. Colleagues of the victim who is assigned at the PNP-IAS office in Camp Karingal aired their grievance to the Journal Group.

Cascolan said he has also asked Tadeo to address complaints about the foul nauseating odor from a chemical disinfectant regularly being sprayed at the PNP Taekwondo Gym in Camp Crame where scores of Suspected and Probable PUIs are undergoing quarantine.

Similar complaints have been addressed at the Kiangan billeting center which has been also converted into a quarantine facility for the police.

Sources said that police uniformed and non-uniformed personnel undergoing quarantine inside the PNP Taekwondo Gym have to bear with nausea and forced to sleep with their masks on as a result of the bad smell from the disinfectant being sprayed regularly in the area every day.

PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa  said they are 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 the same time, the PNP chief ordered the PNP Health Service to implement stricter measures in all PNP-operated quarantine facilities and testing centers to prevent the further spread of the unseen virus.

Helping prevent the spread of the virus by fully enforcing health measures such as wearing of face masks, curfew hours and social distancing is also taking its toll on the national police which since last March have put up Quarantine Control Points in Metro Manila and the rest of the country to check health protocol violators.

At present, the PNP is already operating and managing seven quarantine and testing facilities in the country as part of supportive healthcare system for police front-liners who are involved in the government’s own battle against the pandemic.