Six direct contacts of a COVID-19 positive employee of the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) under the Inagawan sub-colony all cleared their swab tests on Wednesday, the penal facility management said.
ICF superintendent Raul Levita said Thursday that three of the six direct contacts are employees of the penal farm and expected to report to their work duties the day after the release of the result. While the other three direct contacts are immediate family members of the employee.
“Iyong isa ay supervisor ng Inagawan (sub-colony) na nagkaroon siya ng contact nong September 9 kasi nag-request siya ng sasakyan para maihatid siya sa para sa rapid test. Ang dalawa naman ay ‘yong driver at pasahero ng sasakyan ng Iwahig nong mag-request siya ng rapid test kaya tatlo ang ating direct contact (inside ICF)– kahapon lumabas ang kanilang swab test, negative sila sa COVID-19,” he said.
Levita said that the COVID positive employee is still recovering inside the quarantine facility of the city government.
The ICF initially said that the employee is working as office staff and has no exposure to persons deprived of liberty (PDLs). The female employee was on official leave and her result was negative on a rapid antibody test on September 8. However, a confirmatory test on September 19 showed she was positive for COVID-19.
“Ang kaniya lang sinabi ay wala siyang panlasa, iyon lang ang huli ko nalaman galing sa kanya. They (three staff) are advised na pwede na bumalik, hindi na rin naman sila pinag-home quarantine kasi ang tagal na rin naman ng contact nila, September 9 pa,” he said.
Even as all the direct contacts tested negative, the ICF said it will still continue to implement its two-week strict quarantine. Levita also took the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) on Wednesday and turned non-reactive.
Levita said that important transactions of individuals outside ICF will be coordinated to them initially.
“Kung kailangan sila pumasok, pinapayagan naman namin. So kung hindi naman importante, pinapapuntahan ko sa staff ko, kung isa-submit lang naman para kunin na lang,” he said.
“Lahat kasi ng mga empleyado na nagtatrabaho sa labas, ina-advise namin na after two weeks na lang bumalik kasi kapag pumasok sila ay hindi muna palalabasin din. (Sa ICF employees), ang pinapalabas lang natin ay mga kasama nila sa bahay, pinapayagan natin na isang beses for the whole 14 days para mamili lang. After 14 days, balik sa dati, once a week sila pwede lumabas,” he said.
Discrimination outside ICF
Levita admitted that prison employees have experienced discrimination during their transactions outside the ICF premises.
“Kapag lalabas ang mga taga-Iwahig, minsan ‘yong mga nasa official business ko na mga tao, meron na ‘di ba naka-lockdown kayo, bakit nakakalabas kayo’ tipong ganon. Nagkaroon din kami ng problema sa isang bangko, ayaw tanggapin ang mga employee ko. Kinausap ko naman ‘yong manager, pumayag na rin naman siya,” he said.
“Hindi (sila) tanggapin sa bangko because lockdown daw kami at may positive sa COVID. Initially, nong malaman ko ‘yon, syempre naawa ako sa mga empleyado ko kasi kailangan din nila ng pera, kailangan din nila kumain. Tinawagan ko ‘yong manager at naging maayos naman ang usapan, binawi nila ‘yong policy na bawal pumasok ang mga empleyado ng Iwahig,” he added.
He would like to stress that all direct contacts were tested negative so the public has nothing to worry about. He added that the strict lockdown implemented by the ICF management is self-imposed in support of the government to contain the virus.