Priest’s postmortem confirms virus
MANILA, Philippines — The San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan City has been shut down temporarily since July 25 after one of its guest priests, who had died of cardiac arrest on his way to the church, was confirmed to be positive for COVID-19.
In a Facebook post, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Bishop Pablo David confirmed that the temporary lockdown order came from the city’s Covid Command Center.
The guest priest, 58-year-old Fr. Manuel Jadraque Jr. of the Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP), was on his way to the cathedral in a tricycle when he suffered a cardiac arrest.
“He was found unresponsive and very pale inside the tricycle,” David said. “He was clutching the P50 bill which he was going to pay the tricycle driver with. He was rushed to the Caloocan City Medical Center and was declared dead on arrival.”
Because of similar instances of heart attacks related to COVID-19, David said he had insisted on a postmortem swab test, with the results showing that Jadraque was positive for the coronavirus.
“What makes Fr. Manuel’s case particularly concerning is the fact that he was already fully vaccinated with Sinovac,” David said.
“We have no way of finding out if the heart attack [was] triggered by COVID despite the fact that he had been fully vaccinated already. We also do not know which strain of COVID-19 it was,” he added.
Because of the threat posed by the more contagious Delta coronavirus strain, the cathedral asked the city government to have the lab specimen submitted for genome sequencing to find out which variant had infected Jadraque, David said.
His colleagues at the MSP, the bishop said, were extremely shocked to hear of Jadraque’s passing as he “seemed very healthy.”
According to David, the priest was supposed to return to Auckland, New Zealand, in May but failed to do so because of a travel ban imposed by the country due to the pandemic.
Jadraque’s remains were cremated on Monday.
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