ABOUT a hundred non-commissioned officers of the Philippine National Police in Northern Luzon have been infected with COVID-19 at their training center here in Teacher’s Camp.
The 98 PNP officers were attending their months-long leadership seminar at the Philippine Public Safety College Cordillera Administrative Region Training Center at Teacher’s Camp when they were found to be COVID-infected.
Most of them were from the Cordillera but some were from the other regions in Northern Luzon, said Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
“Pending the PCR test results, we see more than 100 of them going positive,” he said. “The figures rose from 45 to 59 and now to 98,” he said.
Mayor Magalong wrote to PLtCol Miguel Guzman, OIC of the training center, to immediately clear the area for disinfection and confine the positive cases.
He also started contact tracing and the isolation and quarantine of the center. Magalong said that there are a total of 198 PNP officers attending the seminar.
Almost all of the cases were asymptomatic, he said.
Magalong noticed some lapses in the training center, particularly in the movement of the officers.
“Some of them had been going to their homes on weekends,” he said.
Magalong also said that the airflow in the barracks was found insufficient, saying that the airflow there was below the COVID-19 recommended standard.
He said that the leadership seminar should have been virtual at the start and only face-to-face in the latter part.
Other than the PSSC case, Magalong said that another surge in the city occurred in a business process outsourcing (BPO) facility inside Camp John Hay.
He said that two weeks ago, the BPO recorded 45 positive COVID-19 cases there.
Magalong also noticed that the facility was also not properly ventilated according to recommended COVID-19 standards.
Magalong stressed the importance of having good ventilation in any location, whether it be in homes, workplaces, or any establishment in preventing COVID-19 spread.
“Open windows and doors or any opening to allow air circulation in your homes, offices, and establishments,” the mayor advised, adding that this is part of the minimum public health standards being promoted by the government to lessen the chances of contracting the virus.
The mayor plans to procure instruments that can measure air circulation in an area to help the city determine which establishments do not have enough ventilation to the detriment of their workers.
This will guide these establishments in adopting engineering interventions to remedy the problem and ensure the health and safety of their employees.
The mayor said, the city, through the Sanitation Division of the City Health Services Office under Engr. Charles Carame, validated the ventilation in one of the BPO companies where a COVID-19 case outbreak occurred using a borrowed equipment from Texas Instruments company.
“Air was measured in one room and the Air Change per Hour (ACH) was found insufficient with 3.4 ACH. Occupational safety and health (OSH) standard requires 8 ACH but experts say 12 ACH for a COVID-free room,” Carame reported.
The mayor urged businesses lacking in ventilation to adopt remedial measures or do necessary structural changes if possible to ensure that they can have a proper aeration system in their spaces. – with reports by Aileen P. Refuerzo