The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of the Cebu City government is scouting for bigger cemeteries to be designated as final resting places for individuals who have died due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), an official said on Monday.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC head, said in a press briefing the city government is eyeing a cemetery in Babag, a hinterland village of this city, and another one in Barangay Adlaon as burial site for individuals who could not be accommodated in the city crematoriums.
The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), Garganera said, is sending a refrigerated van where cadavers can be kept while waiting for cremation or burial.
He said the Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas is also providing the EOC with body bags that will be used to wrap the remains until burial or cremation.
“If we can provide them with necessary individual lot, by all means we need do that aron dili sila mabaho kuyaw mapun-an ang problema (so that the dead bodies won’t get decomposed). We can’t allow another pandemic to happen,” he said.
Garganera said mortality due to Covid-19 is getting high each day, noting that many of the individuals who are suffering severe symptoms of the virus could not immediately be treated since hospitals beds are fully occupied.
“We can really see the trend. In nine days, 50 people died, not to mention those who died in the first week of August. It’s very alarming,” he said.
According to latest DOH-7 bulletin, this capital city recorded a total of 65 Covid-19 deaths since Aug. 1.
Since the start of the pandemic last year, the city has registered a total of 987 deaths.
Garganera said if mortuaries would still experience difficulties in disposing of the dead in the coming days as a long line of cadavers has not yet been cremated, burial lots would become scarce and the city might resort to using mass graves.
The councilor also renewed calls for residents to follow the minimum health protocols in order to prevent further spread of the virus, especially now that the Delta variant is in the region, and medical front-liners are getting exhausted.
“Many of them (medical front-liners) have no breaks and some of them have contracted coronavirus,” he said, and warned that the city might be placed under an extended modified enhanced community quarantine status (MECQ) or, worse, enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Acting Mayor Michael Rama, in the same press briefing, said he met with the barangay chairpersons of the 80 villages here to alert them of the current situation.
Meanwhile, DOH-7 assistant regional director Guy Perez, in a separate briefing, admitted that for the past two weeks, the Covid-19 cases in Central Visayas have tripled, hitting the 1,000 mark in a day.
“We are watching closely and responding accordingly and appropriately for the tri-cities (Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City) and the Cebu province. We are closely meeting with different stakeholders, local government units, local chief executives and private partners. We are closely coordinating with OPAV which is very much concerned of the situation here,” Perez said.
The DOH-7 bulletin on Sunday reported 820 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total active infections in the region to 14,076.
Of the total number of active infections, Cebu province logged the highest number of active cases at 4,447 which represents 32 percent of the regional tally, followed by Cebu City which has 3,640 or 26 percent of the accumulated number of cases.
The cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue have 1,537 and 1,449 active cases, respectively.
On Sunday alone, DOH-7 recorded 35 deaths covering five localities in the region, with Cebu province listing 20, nine in Cebu City, four in Lapu-Lapu City, and one each in Mandaue City and Negros Oriental.