25 retired priests, caregivers in QC seminary test positive for COVID-19; 1 dies

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The Christ the King Mission Seminary says the COVID-19 cases have only been recorded among some of its retired priests and their caregivers. It adds no other area in the compound besides the retirement home has been placed under lockdown.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21)— A COVID-19 outbreak hit a Quezon City seminary, the local government reported on Tuesday.

Twenty-five of the 59 individuals in the Christ the King Mission Seminary (CKMS) contracted the coronavirus, the QC government said, citing the city's Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit chief Dr. Rolando Cruz.

The positive cases comprised nine priests and 16 employees.

Authorities reported that one of the priests died of COVID-19. He was one of the first two recorded infections in the CKMS and was confirmed positive on Sept. 3.

As of Saturday, 11 others have recovered, bringing the active cases to 13.

Fr. Pablito Tagura, a rector at the religious facility, however, clarified to CNN Philippines that the cases have only been recorded among some retired priests and their caregivers in the Villa Cristo Rey Retirement Home — one of the four facilities in the CKMS compound.

"All of them do not need hospital care and most of them are asymptomatic," he said, noting they are all under quarantine.

Only that area in the compound has been placed under Special Concern Lockdown, Tagura added. He said the outbreak did not hit the seminary itself, the Diocesan Shrine of Jesus the Divine Word, or the SVD Mission House.

The rector was correcting the QC government's statement, which cited Cruz as saying that besides the retirement house, the seminary's "Fininman Building" has also been under lockdown since Sept. 18.

The government said it is sending medicine, vitamins, food packs, and other essentials to the residents in the CKMS.

Earlier, local authorities also placed three religious facilities under lockdown — the Stella Maris Convent, since Sept. 10; the Religious of the Virgin Mary, since Sept. 14; and the Convent of the Holy Spirit, since Sept. 15.

Mayor Joy Belmonte said they have created a set of guidelines on ventilation for buildings and workspaces to prevent viral spread, and added they will be sending these to building administrators.

Local government data as of Sept. 19 show that the city — the most populous in the country — has confirmed a total of 154,314 COVID-19 cases. Of this number,1,393 died and 140,286 have recovered, which means 12,635 are currently ill.