Testing starts at Cebu City jail after inmate dies of COVID-19 | Inquirer News

Testing starts at Cebu City jail after inmate dies of COVID-19

By: - Reporter / @nestleCDN
/ 04:16 AM April 21, 2020

CEBU CITY—The local government is testing at least 6,000 inmates at the city jail for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after a detainee has died while another was found infected.

Mayor Edgar Labella said a 41-year-old detainee died of COVID-19 on Sunday, a day after complaining of difficulty in breathing .

Jail officers brought bring him to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, but “unfortunately, he died the next day (Sunday),” Labella said in a virtual press conference on Monday.


The inmate died a few hours before test results on his swab samples showed he was positive for coronavirus.



The mayor said he ordered the city health department to subject all detainees to swabbing and testing to determine the extent of infection in the jail. He also ordered health personnel to trace people who had come in contact with the dead detainee.Of the 199 inmates tested on Sunday, one tested positive although he did not show symptoms of the disease. “We already put him in isolation,” said Labella.

A new building inside the jail compound will house asymptomatic COVID-19 cases.

On March 18, Labella and officials of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology suspended visitation privileges at the jail’s male and female dormitories to protect inmates from COVID-19.

The city jail, which was originally designed for only 1,500 inmates, houses about 6,000.

As of April 20, Cebu City recorded 166 cases of COVID-19, 136 of which came from Sitio Zapatera in Barangay Luz.

Police said at least 1,765 people would be charged for violating quarantine rules imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the city.


“We’ve been calling the attention of people, and we’ve been giving them chances to comply with the enhanced community quarantine protocols. Now, it is time to really go after all violators,” said Col. Josefino Ligan, city police chief.

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