Iligan residents alarmed COVID-19 fatality buried in their brgy

Published March 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Bonita Ermac

ILIGAN CITY – Residents of Barangay Bonbonon here were alarmed when a suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient, who died at the emergency isolation area of the Adventist Medical Center last March 22, was buried in their barangay March 23, Monday.

The suspected COVID-19 patient on board a white vehicle on its way to the burial site, a government property in barangay Bonbonon.
The suspected COVID-19 patient on board a white vehicle on its way to the burial site, a government property in barangay Bonbonon (Contributed photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Residents barricaded the road with vehicles prohibiting the entry of the burial team, which was escorted by policemen on orders of the local government here.

Barangay Bonbonon Chairperson Omar Cadir said the local government instructed him to look for a higher ground for the burial site of the deceased COVID-19 patient.

Cadir added that it was urgent that the dead patient should be immediately buried because it could no longer returned to the family because this would entail taking the remains outside the city.

It was not known why the remains of the COVID-19 patient had to be buried, when Department of Health (DOH) protocol mandates that these be cremated.

It was also not known if the COVID-19 patient was a Muslim. Islamic rules prohibit cremation, and that the remains should be buried 24 hours after death.

Resident Cheryl Tipalan was worried because the virus was contagious, more so that the COVID-19 fatality was buried just below where their house is.

Besides, the patient was buried below where their house is erected.

“Natakot, kasi virus daw man”, Tipalan said.

The deceased patient was 34 years old, and worked as a public utility driver plying the route of Iligan to Malabang, Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro city.

City Health Office chief Dra. Cherlina Canaveral clarified that the patient was s not yet COVID-19 positive. “As of this moment no official report whether he is positive or negative awaiting throat swab result”, Canaveral said.

Having said that the patient was diagnosed with “community acquired pneumonia high risk’.

He was brought to the AMC at around 9 a.m. last March 22, and expired just a few hours later at around 2 p.m., she said.

Canaveral also clarified that City Health Office through its surveillance officer have supervised and monitored in the preparation of the cadaver from the hospital all the way to the burial site, a government property located at Purok 7, barangay Bonbonon.

The cadaver was properly wrapped with to ensure safety and protection, “if ever the patient’s throat swab test be positive, she said.

The CHO chief assured the public that they’re using all protective measures, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for possible transmission of the coronavirus-19 (COVID-19).