122 COVID-19 cases not caused by asymptomatic visitor, orphanage says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 09 2021 09:59 PM

MANILA - An orphanage in Quezon City on Thursday said the COVID-19 transmission in the facility was not caused by an asymptomatic visitor.

Gentle Hands Inc., located in Barangay Bagumbuhay, said while it was true that 122 children in the facility tested positive for COVID-19, the reports that they received visitors were false. 

"It is not true that an asymptomatic visitor spread the virus because we have not received visitors at all, due to the fact that some of the children were immunocompromised and we have prohibited non-members of the staff from going inside the facility," said Charity Graff, the orphanage's executive director. 

"The source of the transmission is still being traced." 

Graff added that the children who contracted the disease are being treated and managed, noting that no one is experiencing respiratory distress.

They are also coordinating with professionals and doctors. 

News reports about the coronavirus outbreak in the orphanage were based on a press release from the Quezon City government.

The press release was now corrected and read: "According to CESU Chief Dr. Rolando Cruz, three male staff allegedly went out of the orphanage to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last August 13. Six days later one of the children developed symptoms."

According to the QC government, of the 122 individuals who contracted COVID-19, 99 are minors. 

A total of 86 have symptoms, while 32 are asymptomatic, the statement read. 

Mayor Joy Belmonte reiterated the importance of following health protocols, which supposedly have been violated because of the outbreak.

Gentle Hands Inc. pointed out that the privacy of the children remained as one of their priorities, most especially due to the reports. 

"In the discussion with QC government, we were directed not to disclose the situation publicly, and we have faithfully complied with this directive. However, recent inaccurate news, made without verification with us, have left us no choice but to clarify matters." 

They also rebutted the local government unit's allegations that its personnel violated health protocols. 

"We do not wish for the dissemination of wrongful information that not only violates the privacy of the children in our care, but disseminates our efforts to protect them," Graff explained. 

"We have followed strict health protocols beyond the minimum to protect each and every staff and child, and have actually been quarantined for 540 days." 

The executive director added that no person "went in or out" prior to their staff's COVID-19 vaccination. 

The country is battling a wave of COVID-19 infections most likely driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, which first emerged from India.

--- With reports from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

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