Mass graves for deceased COVID patients readied in Davao City

DAVAO CITY – The mass graves of the local government of Davao at the Tagakpan Public Cemetery in Tugbok District have been prepared in case the number of deaths will rise due to the ongoing surge caused by the more infectious variants of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mayor Sara Duterte said, during her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday, that 160 spaces – each space can accommodate a total of six cadavers – are being readied within the public cemetery.

“Our mass graves are ready. The operation center of our response cluster is already aware of the readiness of our mass graves,” she said.

But Duterte added that not all cadavers of the deceased COVID-19 patients would be buried at the mass graves, provided that family members could arrange for the cremation of the remains on their own.

As of Sunday, DOH-Davao reported 373 new cases in this city, bringing the total cases to 40,347, with 6,881 active, 32,214 recoveries, and 1,252 deaths.

The DOH-Davao also reported that of 10 additional Delta variant cases reported on September 6, three came from Davao City, five from Tagum city, one from Pantukan in Davao de Oro, and one from Mati, Davao Oriental.

To date, the region logged a total of 58 Delta cases, 135 Alpha cases, and 297 Beta cases.

Duterte said the government-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) has been seeing an influx of COVID-19 cases needing hospital care. As of September 6, SPMC’s 92 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 496 COVID-19 ward beds have been fully occupied.

“The SPMC is already more than their prepared COVID-19 beds, even our TTMFs (temporary monitoring and treatment facilities), we are at 65% but there is an expectation that it will be filled up,” she said.

Duterte said the city has 3,084 beds, of which 2,500 beds for isolation and the rest for quarantine. Those patients who are awaiting transfer to TTMFs from their homes will be attended to through the local government’s Caring for Patients Awaiting Transport (CPAT) program. Each patient gets a care kit consisting of a digital thermometer, pulse oximeter, vitamin C, paracetamol, disposable face masks, and alcohol while awaiting transport to an isolation facility.

“Every day, we look for facilities that we can open as TTMFs,” she said.

Duterte added that they are planning to set up an extension facility for the emergency room of the SPMC.

“We need to sit down with SPMC and DOH to iron out the details of this possible extension of ER to another location,” she said.