Tragedy struck in British Columbia, Canada, when Warlito Valdez, a Filipino frontline worker, died on his 11th day of quarantine in the first week of April 2020. He was also the husband of Flozier Tabangin and the father of their four-year-old daughter, Zeirlet.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines, there are 535 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Filipinos abroad as of April 6, but the numbers have risen to 704 with 44 new cases last Tuesday, April 14. 400 of them are undergoing treatment, 216 have recovered. The death toll of Filipinos abroad has reached 88.
The Valdez family have been living in Canada for three years prior the patriarch’s death. In a report, it was said that he was found unresponsive by his wife and declared dead when paramedics arrived at the scene. During his quarantine period, his only symptom was a fever, and he was monitored daily through phone call by a nurse.
Valdez served as a residential support worker of the Richmond Society for Community Living at one of the homes they run. The management was aware of him testing positive due to exposure brought upon by his important work as a front liner. He provided support to people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
To honor his life and contributions to society, colleagues have set up a GoFundMe page https://ca.gofundme.com/f/warlito-valdez to aid his family into going through these trying times. He was described as a “tireless provider” and it is certain that his death will be a new challenge to his family. People have expressed their condolences and aim to donate more to reach the $200,000 goal of their fundraising.
British Columbia’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided an update on the province’s COVID-19 response on Tuesday. There are 1,575 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 78 deaths in the province as of writing. Currently, 120 people are in the hospital and 56 of them are put in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing—which may be mistaken as a common cold or flu, but the virus can become a starting point for a more severe illnesses. In rare cases, diarrhea is also considered a symptom.
The virus is known to be more dangerous to older adults, people with weak immune systems, and those with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease, and recently: front liners, especially in the medical field. In the face of the fast-growing health crisis, it is important to do the necessary steps in the prevention of more cases. More businesses close, following the rising death toll and safety concerns.