COVID-19 hits 200 staff members, patients in Nueva Ecija Mega drug rehab center | Inquirer News

COVID-19 hits 200 staff members, patients in Nueva Ecija Mega drug rehab center

/ 04:17 AM October 05, 2020

INFECTIONS Local authorities want a halt in patients’ entry at the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center at Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Palayan City after 200 people were infected with the coronavirus disease. —ARMAND GALANG

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Philippines — At least 200 patients and staff members of the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City have been infected with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the local interagency task force said on Saturday.

Part of the center is being used as quarantine for returning overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs).


The infections prompted the Nueva Ecija COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force to ask the government to temporarily stop accepting patients in the quarantine unit.


Fr. Arnold Abelardo, spokesperson of the local task force, described their recommendation as “urgent,” adding that the quarantine should be canceled “until the health situation and protocol had been cleared and properly investigated.”

It was not immediately known what caused the infections inside the drug rehabilitation center, but Abelardo said it was a “big local facility transmission.”

“We are worried how an enclosed facility got infected,” he said, noting that repatriated OFWs who were being quarantined nearby came from Metro Manila.

Police trainees, too

In Baguio City, 32 more police trainees had tested positive for the virus, raising their number to 124 as of Saturday.

They were part of 437 trainees who underwent the mandatory field training program when Luzon closed all borders and later served as front-line workers manning village checkpoints.

As of Saturday, the city’s total number of infections since the pandemic struck had reached 1,108. It also recorded two fatalities—a 33-year-old woman, who had other ailments, and a 68-year-old woman. They raised the number of COVID-19 deaths to 16.


In Olongapo City, clusters of new infections have been traced to a workplace based on an analysis of recent cases there.

Three health workers—a maintenance personnel at a mall, an administrative assistant and a bookkeeper—were among the 10 new cases recorded in Zambales, bringing the total number of active cases to 40, said Dr. Noel Bueno, provincial health director.

Virus contained

Also infected was a police officer in San Marcelino town, who was exposed to an infected relative who lives in Olongapo.

Border and quarantine passes will be required again in Olongapo starting Monday, following the abrupt increase in infections.

Zambales has 487 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 444 recoveries and three deaths.

In Batanes province, tests have cleared 100 people who have been exposed to two returning residents infected with the virus.

In the absence of any local transmission, the Batanes Task Force on COVID-19 concluded that the virus had been contained.

In Bulacan province, 67 health workers, policemen and disaster risk reduction and management personnel in Pandi town have been cleared of the virus after tests on Oct. 1.

Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province has been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine until Oct. 16 due to 78 cases traced to 19 villages there.

Mayor Jefferson Soriano also imposed a liquor ban during that period.

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Armand Galang, Vincent Cabreza, Joanna Rose Aglibot, Carmela Reyes-Estrope and Villamor Visaya Jr.

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