On March 8, there were 1,229 ventilators in the public and private integrated healthcare network, a figure which is expected to rise to 2,624 by the end of May as a result of purchases made by the State plus donations. Some ventilators have already arrived and are available within the healthcare network, as the Healthcare Networks Undersecretary, Arturo Zúñiga, explained.
The Undersecretary gave details of the plan for purchasing these items of equipment: “As I explained, we began with 1,229. We now already have 2,035 mechanical ventilators. And, on May 31, we expect to have 2,624 in place so as to be able to respond well to the increased levels of contagion here in the Metropolitan Region, while maintaining our capacity of available ventilators at around 500 to 600 a day with the objective of being able to respond when any situation in particular develops in some other part of the country.”
The Health Ministry has today announced that as of 10 pm tomorrow, Tuesday, the current quarantine will be extended for the municipalities of Santiago, Quilicura, Recoleta and Cerrillos in the Metropolitan Region and for the urban area of Antofagasta and the whole of Mejillones in northern Chile.
The announcement was made by the Public Health Undersecretary, Paula Daza, when she delivered the report on the COVID-19 pandemic, along with Healthcare Networks Undersecretary Arturo Zúñiga and Health Minister Jaime Mañalich.
The latest update shows that in the last 24 hours, 1,197 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Chile.
“Today we are announcing 500 fewer cases than yesterday but we need to be very careful and cautious. We are continuing to see a significant increase in infection in the Metropolitan Region, where over 30 municipalities are currently subject to quarantine so we need to see the response to these strict measures,” emphasized Undersecretary Daza as she provided the daily update on the pandemic.
Meanwhile the Minister drew attention to the development of the epidemic five months on from when the first cases arose in China.
“We are concerned to see countries where the virus is reappearing and that have new cases. The number of cases is increasing in places where it was thought that the situation was under control, like South Korea, Singapore and even in the city of Wuhan in China, where new people have fallen sick,” said the Health Minister.
Turning to Chile, he said that cities and municipalities like Arica, Osorno, Temuco, Chillán and Punta Arenas have managed to reduce their number of cases but if the prevention measures are relaxed, there could be a new outbreak of the disease.
The Health Minister emphasized, “we are tremendously grateful that, despite the limitations it entails, the citizens have understood and remained in isolation and organized their systems for essential purchases”. He also expressed his gratitude for “the tremendous, fraternal support, such as we have had from the mayors of the Metropolitan Region, especially in the municipalities under quarantine, as well as from the whole of society.”
The Public Health Undersecretary announced that as of today 30,063 people in Chile have been diagnosed with COVID-19, of whom 13,605 have recovered, while 16,135 have the active virus and can transmit it to others and should therefore remain in isolation.
The Undersecretary added that of the 1,197 newly confirmed cases, 975 had presented symptoms and 222 had no symptoms at the time they were diagnosed.
The Undersecretary revealed that “over 80% of the new cases continue to be concentrated in the Metropolitan Region. We are also seeing that 20% of all new cases are asymptomatic, which is in line with going out to find those people who have COVID-19 but no symptoms so as to be able to isolate them and thus decrease the spread of this virus.”
Health Care Networks Undersecretary Arturo Zúñiga reported that yesterday 574 people were in intensive care units, of whom 474 were on mechanical ventilators. Of them, 80 were in a critical condition.
In his report, the Undersecretary said “there were 606 ventilators available yesterday to attend to any patient who needed them anywhere on Chilean territory.” He explained that this figure is rising daily following the arrival of new equipment that has been bought by the Health Ministry and through donations from the Confederation of Production and Commerce of Chile (CPC).
He explained that the 1,229 mechanical ventilators that existed on March 8, are expected to be augmented to a total of 2,624 at the end of May.
In terms of testing, the Undersecretary said that yesterday the network of laboratories analyzing CRP tests “carried out 13,373 tests, setting a new record in terms of the number of tests done and taking the cumulative total to 294,057 tests. The positive testing rate yesterday was 8%, while the rate for the 60 or more days so far stands at 10%.”