December 10, 2022

Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas has urged the public to coordinate with the concerned municipal health offices with regard to swabbing the remains of their deceased relatives for Covid-19.

Diclas said there are no proper guidelines yet on swabbing the deceased in the province.

“The swabbing of the dead for Covid-19 test is still a gray area but this would be up to the medical health officer to decide because they are knowledgeable with their constituents,” Diclas said.

The provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) earlier discussed whether or not to swab the deceased for RT-PCR test to determine if the remains should be cremated or not and to guide families in the conduct of wakes and burials. 

Under the memorandum of the Department of Health on handling suspect, probable, and confirmed Covid-19 cadavers, the procedure for burial and cremation should be done within 12 hours after death.

In respect to customs and traditions, relatives are given a choice whether to cremate or bury their dead that were suspect, probable, and confirmed positive for Covid-19 within 12 hours. 

In Benguet, a three-day wake is allowed for the cremated remains.

A three-day wake is also allowed for non-Covid-related deaths.

Diclas, citing Benguet General Hospital chief, Dr. Meliarazon Dulay, said it is better for family members to subject their loved ones who are bedridden to regular swab test. 

He cited instances where even bedridden individuals, who never went out of their houses, were found positive for the Covid-19. 

The governor has appealed to the public to abide by the IATF’s order on strict observance of the minimum health protocols during the conduct of wakes.

The public should also inform their respective local government units if they are to conduct wakes for them to be properly monitored to prevent the spread of the Covid-19. – Ofelia C. Empian