Cemetery in Davao del Norte town full due to COVID-19 deaths

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2021 03:54 PM | Updated as of Oct 07 2021 12:10 PM

A public cemetery owned by the municipal government of Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte has reached full capacity, as the COVID-19 death toll continued to rise.
A public cemetery owned by the municipal government of Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte has reached full capacity, as the COVID-19 death toll continued to rise.

(UPDATE) A public cemetery owned by the municipal government of Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte has reached full capacity, as the COVID-19 death toll continued to rise.

The town's COVID-19 Task Force said the Santa Cruz Public Cemetery could no longer accommodate more burials since graves have already reached the boundary line of the cemetery.

As of Oct. 5, Santo Tomas town has registered a total of 141 COVID-related deaths.

Based on COVID-19 regulations on the management of the dead, those that cannot afford cremation, especially those found positive for COVID-19, would have to be buried within 24 hours.

The LGU said 55 bodies were buried at the Santa Cruz Public Cemetery from January to September 2021, making it the town’s graveyard for COVID-19 deaths. 

However, the surge in pandemic-related deaths has created a scarcity in the COVID section of the cemetery.

In a TeleRadyo interview Thursday, Santo Tomas Mayor Ernesto Evangelista said 40 people died from the illness in September.

He said infections began rising after the government eased quarantine restrictions to restart the economy.

Currently, the public cemetery in Barangay Balagunan is also a gravesite for COVID-19 deaths. 

"With this grim development, we call all Tomasinos to follow the minimum health protocols to prevent further spread of the virus, especially now that the Delta variant is in the municipality," the LGU said.

To date, Santo Tomas has recorded 1,642 coronavirus infections, of which 123 are active cases. The entire province of Davao del Norte, meanwhile, has 17,220 COVID-19 cases, 1,953 of which are active infections.

Santo Tomas has also inoculated 18,600 out of 88,000 people against COVID-19 or 21 percent of its target population.

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— Report from Hernel Tocmo