Sister Maria Roseline of the Daughters of the Reinha Rosary died on April 5. (Photo supplied)
Local authorities in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province have dismissed reports that the death of a nun on April 5 was caused by Covid-19, saying she had tested negative for the virus.
The local hospital also confirmed that the nun tested negative for the virus.
Sister Maria Roseline of the Daughters of the Reinha Rosary died at Samarinda Archdiocese’s Dirgahayu Hospital and was buried according to protocols for Covid-19 patients.
Hospital spokeswoman Regina Bellanandra told UCA News on April 8 that the nun was suspected of having the virus but “both rapid and swab tests were negative.”
She declined to give the cause of the nun’s death, but the superior general of the congregation revealed she died of pneumonia.
During an April 7 press conference, Ismed Kusasih, head of the Samarinda City health office, confirmed the nun was being monitored with regard to coronavirus because she had traveled to a highly affected area — Jakarta.
He said the authority had planned to transfer the nun from Dirgahayu Hospital to the AW Syahranie General Hospital, the referral hospital for coronavirus patients in the area. However, she died before she could be moved.
Kusasih added that the funeral was carried out according to health procedures for Covid-19 patients and that "officials wore personal protective equipment.”
He said the results of her rapid and swab tests were obtained on April 6.
However, another nun interviewed by UCA News shortly after Sister Roseline’s death mistakenly assumed she had died as a result of Covid-19.
Sister Maria Ivon also said other sisters in the order, including herself, who had been in contact with Sister Rosaline were told by the head of the order to also be tested. Only two who showed symptoms of fever were tested and came up negative.
Sister Ivon said the nun was mistakenly thought to have contracted the virus on March 20 when she came into contact with an infected woman at a provincial chapter assembly in Jakarta.
Sister Maria Gratiana, superior general of the congregation, said reports that the nun was infected with Covid-19 "damaged the good name of the congregation and the hospital” where she was treated.
"Our nun did not die of Covid-19 but from acute pneumonia," she told UCA News on April 7.
Despite the dead nun not having Covid-19, other sisters who had contact with her were still in a state of anxiety given that she had been in contact with someone at the Jakarta gathering who did, according to Sister Ivon.