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Probe set for QC inmate's possible coronavirus-related death

The Quezon City Health Department has started an investigation into the death of a male inmate at the Quezon City Jail, who may have been infected with the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to Saleema Refran's 24 Oras report on Friday.

The death certificate of the inmate states that the immediate cause of death was acute myocardial infarction or heart attack.

However, listed as other significant conditions contributing to death is that the inmate may be a possible COVID-19 patient for two weeks.

The city health department said the inmate exhibited some flu-like symptoms.

"(The inmate was) complaining of parang difficulty of breathing. Dead-on-arrival yata siya ma'am. I'm sure hindi po siya na-test siguro," Feliza Luna, a Quezon City Health Medical Officer, said.

Bureau of Jail Management and Penology spokesman Xaiver Solda said, "Nakita naman natin talaga 'yung primary cause of death niya, no? May nakasulat doon na possible COVID-19 case."

"Kung talagang positibo 'yan siya at meron sapat na basihan 'yung doctor, talagang sasabihin niya d'yan diretsya na this is a COVID-19 case. Pero hindi," he added.

The spokesman also assured the public not to worry.

"Though merong report na ganito, ang protocol naman natin sa jail basta meron ka'ng ubo, may sipon, o may sintomas ka, any symptoms ng COVID-19, automatic 'yan, isolate ka talaga," Solda added.

The BJMP also confirmed that one of its staff members has tested positive for the virus.

However, Solda underscored that the employee has been placed on a work-from-home status for some time.

"Matagal na siyang hindi pumapasok sa jail, positive 'yung progress niya, maganda 'yung development ng health niya, and sana mag tuloy-tuloy," he said.

Due to the fatality, BJMP has intensified sanitation and disinfection measures inside the jail.

Each persons deprived of liberty must be disinfected, monitoring, and health checks.

Meanwhile, the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (QCDRRMO) has also disinfected the outside of the Quezon City Jail.

According to data from the Health Department, there are already 464 possible COVID-19 cases in Quezon City. Of these, 310 have been confirmed and 154 are still being validated.

The death toll has also increased to 33.

Out of 142 barangays in the city, 100 has reported COVID-19 cases with Barangay Batasan Hills topping the list with 14 cases.

Due to this, the local government has said that there is already a community transmission in the city.

"Na-trace natin na 'yung mga cases natin without history of travel, without contacts with positive cases, marami na tayong ganoong cases ngayon. So we can say na may community transmission na," Assistant Emergency Health Officer Ellen Ignacio said.

Next week, 1,500 residents of Quezon City will be included in the pilot community COVID-testing of the Philippine Red Cross.

However, as of present only close contacts of confirmed cases, persons under investigation, especially those with symptoms, and positive patients whose conditions have stablized and are in need of a negative result to be discharged.

"Napakalaking bagay ang testing kasi it would lessen the paranoi feeling, no? 'Yung mga panic sa ating mga kababayan kasi tayo rin mismo 'pag nakaramdam tayo ng kaunting fever, we have coughing, ang tendency ngayon, psychologically, feling natin meron tayong COVID," QCDRRMO chief Myke Marasigan said.

"But with this testing facility available, once we get the negative test, malaking psychological effect nito sa atin." he added. -- Joahna Lei Casilao/BAP, GMA News