DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – At least nine cadavers of COVID-19 patients are awaiting cremation as of Saturday, January 2, and the officer-in-charge of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is urging families of the deceased to let their relatives process the documents if they are in quarantine or have tested positive, so the cadavers won’t pile up at its morgue.
SPMC officer-in-charge Ricardo Audan said the hospital and crematorium could not process the cremation without documents from the families.
“The crematorium will not accept the bodies without papers,” he said.
As of January 1, the city has recorded a total of 406 COVID-19 deaths, 29 of them between December 25 and January 1.
Audan said among the reasons for the delay in processing the papers is because the families of the deceased are themselves positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine and are awaiting results of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
Audan said that if members of the immediate family are in isolation due to COVID-19, other relatives could process the papers for the cremation.
He said the local government is reaching out to the relatives of COVID-19 patients.
He said family members need not worry about the expenses as the city government of Davao shoulders the expenses of the cremation services for those who succumbed to COVID-19 or are suspected to have been infected with COVID-19.
In a press release on November 19, 2020, the City Government of Davao said it allocated P14.850 million from its Public Service Enhancement Program fund for the construction of a crematorium in Davao Wireless Cemetery, which can house two cremation machines.
Davao City Health COVID-19 focal person Ashley Lopez said, in a text message, that the crematorium’s operations could “start anytime since it is almost complete.”
Audan said frontline health workers are anticipating a post-holiday surge this month.
“It’s not new to us. We have to be strict with the admissions at SPMC so that we will not be overwhelmed,” he added.
He said that SPMC will only cater to moderate, critical, and severe COVID-19 patients while mild-symptomatic and asymptomatic will go to the temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.
SPMC has 372 beds allocated for COVID-19 patients.
As of January 1, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region recorded 12,622 in total COVID-19 cases, with 1,815 active, 10,294 recoveries, and 513 deaths.
Of the total cases, Davao City reported 8,825, Davao de Oro with 609, Davao del Norte with 1,598, Davao del Sur with 909, Davao Occidental with 126 and Davao Oriental with 555.
Of 8,825 total number of cases in Davao City, classified as active cases are 1,263, 7,156 recoveries, and 406 deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)