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By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Gov. Gwen Gacia meets with Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Christina Giango, judges, and jail officials. The DOH reports that 18 individuals inside the CPDRC are positive of Covid-19. (Lito Tecson)

The number of Covid-19 positive cases in Cebu province drastically increased to 25, as 20 more cases were reported on Wednesday, April 9.

The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) recorded 18 inmates infected with the dreaded coronavirus disease, the Department of Health-Central Visayas reported. Two others were recorded from the towns of Daanbantayan and Minglanilla.

Two mortalities were recorded as of Tuesday night.

The DOH-7 confirmed that one of the Covid-19 positive cases in CPDRC died in the hospital as of 4:29 p.m. Tuesday. He was from  Catmon, north of Cebu. 

The positive case in Daanbantayan was confirmed dead based on the post of Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura. The patient died on Sunday, April 26.

Shimura's Facebook post at 6:39 p.m. Tuesday reads in part: "Namatay nani bag o lang DOA, since in and out sa hospital, he was identified as a PUI, so gi swab. Mao nani ang result sa iya test."

According to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, the patient, who was 58-years-old, a resident of Lanao, Daanbantayan, was a dialysis patient and was admitted at the Chong Hua Hospital for kidney problem. He did not pass through the town's district hospital. 

He was tested last April 25 and the result of the swab test today, April 29 confirmed he is positive of Covid-19.

Shimura also posted that the drivers of the ambulance (who have been transporting the patient to and from Cebu City and Daanbantayan), and the family of the patient, are already isolated. 

He also urged the families and friends of the drivers to isolate themselves. "Palayo sa mo ug ayaw sa mo og lakaw-lakaw. Please," Shimura appealed.

Meanwhile, the patient from Pakigne, Minglanilla is a 31-year-old female whose test was taken last April 27 and was confirmed positive of Covid-19 today. She is currently admitted at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

Meanwhile, Garcia said she will order an investigation on how the virus has infected the Capitol-run jail facility. 

"If you recall I had given that order nga ang tanan nato employees should stay at the CPDRC, apil na ang jail guards. Apparently this was not strictly followed. Dunay usa nga employee didto nga nia taga Cebu City nga sigeg uli," Garcia said, adding the facility already implemented a strict no visitation policy including the regular "dunol" (handing of goods from outside to the guard and then given to the inmate) since March.

"So kani ato ni tan-awon. We are trying to see kay wa man tay dalaw, wa man tay pasa pasa og pagkaon or supplies. Kadto na lang. I feel that is the weak point kay wa tohoa ang akong order," the governor said.

The CPDRC employee is a resident of Sambag II, Cebu City and was also found positive of Covid-19.

Garcia also clarified that the 18 inmates were already isolated after they were exhibiting signs of Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) like cough, fever and colds, even before they were tested.

Two isolation rooms have been set up by CPDRC since March and three personnel including one physician were detailed in these rooms. 

Provincial Health Officer Christina Giango confirmed that one of the three personnel is the Covid-19 patient from Sambag II.

Of the 18, three were female and 15 were males, Garcia said.

As this developed, Garcia disclosed that the Province will pursue the massive targeted testing using swab samples instead of the rapid mass testing that was earlier planned.

Swab sampling uses the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test which is more accurate than the rapid mass testing with only a 50 percent accuracy. Garcia finds this more practical for the province.

"I had initially stated before nga mag targeted mass testing ta using the rapid mass testing kits but now I believe that the better way to go would be to use PCR test of which the DOH will be working closely with us. So mag swab nalang gyud ta," she said.

In her meeting with DOH-7 Regional Director Jaime Bernadas on Tuesday, Garcia was told by the director that there are enough swabs available for testing, thus the province will just purchase the PCR test kits and reagents. 

"So that's the way we will go," the governor said. (Vanessa L. Almeda)