My cousin, whose husband died of Covid-19 in San Francisco town in the Camotes group of islands, is in isolation for several days now after she tested positive for the same virus that killed her husband. She actually had mild symptoms of the illness when her husband was rushed to the hospital. “Thankfully, the fever has subsided,” she messaged me. It’s good that the medical personnel allowed her to keep her cell phone while she is in isolation. I had a fleeting feel of that setup when I had palpitations several weeks ago and was rushed to the hospital.
At that time, the hospital had increased the number of beds in the room and walled each bed with cellophane. But since I was brought there at dawn, almost all the beds were empty, except for one bed that had a patient in a coma. My wife was told to stay outside, so it was rather eerie being left alone with a man who was seriously ill and listening to the voices of the medical staff talking in their station. The mind easily floats in such a situation and it is difficult to stop your imagination from soaring. Good that my cell phone was not taken away.
My cousin has a daughter who is old enough to fend for herself. But mothers are always protective of their children. I could just imagine the worries visiting her while in isolation. Her other concern was that the novenas usually held for the dead had still to be served for her husband. I told her to momentarily forget about that and instead focus on her well-being.
In nearby Poro town, Mayor Edgar Rama recently said that 10 people have died of Covid. For a small town, that’s already a big number. Most of the patients died in the district hospital in San Francisco town. The hospital, whose resources were already limited, is now swamped. So those ill with Covid either do not divulge their illness or die at home.
The lone district hospital has never been reliable. Relatives prefer to bring the sick to the mainland and have them endure the boat ride in sometimes bad weather for almost two hours if the destination is Danao City and more than that if they want to go to Cebu City.
If 10 people died of Covid in Poro, then the number of those sick with Covid in Camotes should be larger. That is why I am worried for my relatives there. One thing going for many of them is that they do not live in crowded villages except for those who are near the town centers. If they follow minimum protocols they should be safe.
But nowhere is the admonition, “Bawal magkasakit” is truer than these islands. Pilar town is nearer to Ormoc City than to Danao City but the seas separating them are not less rough. And the vessels ferrying them are not less cramped. Perhaps the presence of sea ambulances would be good now that the pandemic has reached the islands. Such a proposal was good before, it should be better now.
That is if we consider that people live in the islands. The place is not only a tourist destination but is composed of local government units that need all the help that we can offer them.