Cebu City to build cluster mortuaries, crematoriums as COVID deaths surge

Published August 7, 2021, 3:01 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – With the rising COVID-19 deaths, the city government will build cluster mortuaries and at least two crematorium facilities.

The move is meant to address the lack of crematoriums after two major funeral parlors here stopped accepting cremation services.

Acting Mayor Michael Rama said the problem has existed even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Rama said he will meet other officials and tasked City Councilor James Cuenco to spearhead the realization of the plan.

The city only has two funeral parlors with crematorium facilities. One funeral parlor is fully booked until Aug. 12 while the other has stopped accepting cremation services until Aug. 29.

The funeral parlors are prioritizing COVID-19 deaths but could only do four cremations a day.

The city has been experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases as well as COVID-19 deaths.

Councilor Joel Garganera, chief of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said the city recorded 86 COVID-19 deaths last month.

For the first five days of August, 27 COVID-19 patients from the city have died.

Fifteen of the patients died in the hospital, five were declared dead on arrival, while seven died at home.

The surging cases of COVID-19 have overwhelmed hospitals.

A hospital reaching 70 to 85 occupancy rate is considered “high risk,” according to the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH tracker showed that the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center is 92 percent full with only 14 vacancies out of its 174 COVID-19 beds.

The DOH-run St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital has 14 vacancies out of its 74 COVID-19 beds for an 81.6 occupancy rate.

The Cebu City Medical Center is 65.2 percent full with only 23 available beds out of its 66 COVID-19 beds.

Chong Hua Hospital has 150 COVID-19 beds, Perpetual Succour Hospital has 150 COVID-19 beds, and Cebu Doctors’ Hospital has 76 COVID-19 beds but are 50.9 percent, 48 percent and 68.4 percent full, respectively.