AT LEAST 81 people have been infected with the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) inside the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
From December 31, 2020 to January 2021, records from the Baguio City Health Services Office confirmed the 81 cases, with bulk of them under the 19 to 22 years old age group.
Major Cherryl Tindog, chief of PMA's Public Affairs Office, confirmed the positive Covid-19 cases among the cadets and its military and civilian personnel.
"For the first time since the pandemic started, the academy conducted a mass RT-PCR testing to really detect presence of Covid-19 as part of the expanded testing/detection effort of the LGU/IATF. Since March 2020, we only conducted rapid test to our cadets and personnel," said Tindog.
Tindog added that though the Cadet Corps of the AFP has been isolated as one bubble from the outside world by cancelling contact activities and employing online mode of instructions, still there is no fool proof system.
The PMA official added that one way or another, a leak to the bubble can occur from day to day activities of the whole community, thus, the need for mass testing.
Tindog said after the command's initiative for mass RT-PCR testing with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard, a number of cadets, civilian human resource (manongs) and organic military personnel were identified to have contracted the virus.
These cases were properly reported and coordinated with the health officials of the City of Baguio while the patients are currently being treated, the contacts were traced and isolated, and the further spread is contained, in coordination with concerned government agencies.
"We are comforted to note that all affected are asymptomatic and pose no greater danger to cadet's health. There are a number of them who have also recovered. We assure the parents and their families that their health and needs are being attended to by Headquarters PMA," Tindog added.
Tindog said aside from the tests, as per the PMA's safety and health
protocol for Covid-19 and that of DOH, the academy has conducted immediate isolation of positive cases, lockdown, contact tracing, quarantine of general contacts, and disinfection of affected areas.
"The mass RT-PCR testing is part of the PMA's effort to eradicate Covid-19 within the Cadet Corps and the whole of the academy, and we shall continue to do so," Tindog said.
Tindog assured that the PMA remains to be on top of the situation and continues to take the advice and guidance from the general headquarters to address this concern.
"We continue to seek for your understanding and prayers for the Academy in the midst of this pandemic," Tindog added.
It was February of 2020, when PMA imposed an institution-wide lockdown as a proactive measure against the virus, cadets are not also allowed to travel outside the academy.
The temporary closure of the PMA to visitors and outsiders was then supported by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.