The Bacolod Emergency Operations Center-Task Force is further strengthening security measures at its COVID-19 quarantine facilities following the escape of two occupants, one of whom was later found dead, to avoid similar incidents from happening.
Only 11 out of 19 Bacolod school-based quarantine facilities are currently operating following the drop in COVID cases in the city, an EOC statement said Thursday, November 4.
A 40-year-old COVID-19 hit person at the Luisa Medel National High School (LMNHS) quarantine facility in Barangay Tangub escaped on the eve of his supposed release on October 30, and was found dead four days after at a private beach in Barangay Pahanocoy.
A 27-year-old male at the Bata National High School quarantine facility also disappeared on November 1 and was retrieved on November 2.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said he is saddened that after efforts by the LMNHS quarantine facility staff, barangay workers and the Philippine National Police to locate the 40-year-old patient immediately after he disappeared, he was later found dead.
Leonardia said he relayed his deepest sympathies to the family of the patient.
Facility staff and Barangay Health Workers immediately coordinated with the PNP on the day the patient left the LMNHS premises so a search operation could start. They also contacted his next of kin that brought them to Bago City and they were informed that the employer of the escapee was residing at Palmas del Mar in Bacolod City, an EOC statement said.
Because he had COVID-19, his sister, a resident of Barangay Singcang-Airport in Bacolod, deemed it necessary to have his remains cremated. The family no longer requested for an autopsy after the PNP probe indicated the absence of foul play that led to his demise, the EO said.
Given the circumstances surrounding the incident, Leonardia said he has directed Col. Thomas Joseph Martir, Bacolod police acting officer, to probe deeper into the escape of the patient from the quarantine facility.
Leonardia ordered Martir to deploy police officers to be on duty 24/7 in each of the city’s operating quarantine facilities.
In an emergency meeting with EOC-TF executives, doctors, nurses, administrative staff and other personnel, Leonardia called for an immediate review of the facilities’ manual of operations and related protocols from patient extraction to admission procedures, and conduct re-orientation at once to allow them to revisit the policies.
Incidents similar to this, he pointed out, must be relayed immediately to the local Inter-Agency Task Force, EOC-TF, City Health Office and other relevant agencies of the LGU and reported to the nearest PNP station for blotter purposes.
Leonardia reiterated the need for the quarantine facility staff to establish close coordination with PNP stations nearest them.
Barangay personnel and BHWs must be mobilized as well, he said.*