TWO fire volunteers who had contact with a deceased 60-year-old man from Barangay Cogon Pardo, Cebu City may be arrested for refusing to get swabbed.
City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said the two fire volunteers were the first responders of the man who died of a non-Covid illness but was later found to be positive for the disease. They brought him to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) on Aug. 29, 2020, where he was declared dead on arrival.
The two were approached by contact tracing teams twice, but they refused to undergo a Covid-19 test, Garganera said.
“That is an affront to EOC, (to) the barangay authorities,” he said.
They are scheduled to undergo a swab test again on Monday, Sept. 7. If they still refuse, they will be arrested, Garganera said.
The two fire volunteers are currently on house lockdown.
Garganera said more than 40 persons have been placed on house lockdown after attending the 60-year-old man’s wake.
He said they are tracing individuals who live in Barangays Mabolo and Pasil.
As of Saturday, Sept. 5, 56 individuals were already swabbed. Results have yet to be released.
The EOC has discouraged the holding of wakes as this may cause disease transmission.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 has asked the VSMMC to submit an official report on the death of the 60-year-old man.
This was the action taken by the agency, said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Sept. 6, after it learned about the incident.
Rey Panugaling, head of the VSMMC Information, Communications and Strategy Management, said they were saddened when they learned about the news on Sunday.
Panulaging said they will investigate the matter immediately. He said the patient was dead when he arrived at the hospital.
Cogon Pardo Barangay Captain Harry Eran earlier said he allowed relatives of the deceased to hold a wake for three days because they told him the man died of something else.
The man’s death certificate states cause of death as acute myocardial infarction. The death certificate was issued by the attending doctor at the VSMMC.
The man was buried on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Eran had said he immediately ordered contact tracing after he received word from the City Health Department that the man died of Covid-19.
Aside from the deceased’s close family members and neighbors who attended the wake, those who handled his body were also ordered to undergo quarantine and swab testing. (JJL, WBS)