The Health Ministry today reported on the series of measures and actions being taken to respond to the growing demand for intensive care treatment for patients with COVID-19 in the Metropolitan Region. It also called on people to comply with quarantine and adopt the individual prevention measures in order to avoid the contagions that result in more people being hospitalized.
“It is clear that we are facing a very complex situation, above all in the Metropolitan Region, where the demand for hospitalization and respirators has grown by around 5% per day. This is a significant number and has led to almost all the municipalities in Santiago being subject to quarantine,” said Health Minister Jaime Mañalich.
He added “as we have said before, we got ready a long time ago. We took the measures to ensure we were ready to do battle and win against this pandemic. But we must continue to emphasize that we will not be able to move forward without everyone’s help, because in the end, the decisions about whether or not to use a mask, stay in quarantine, choose not to visit a senior citizen, get checked early on if you have symptoms, wash your hands - which are all the most effective measures - along with social distancing, these are what will make the difference in terms of how we will do against this global pandemic.”
Healthcare Networks Undersecretary Arturo Zúñiga said that as of 9 pm yesterday, 604 people were in intensive care units as a result of COVID-19. He explained that over the last 10 days the number of people who need to enter an intensive care unit has increased by 20 a day.
He reported that 494 of the patients currently in intensive care are on mechanical ventilation and 113 of them are in a critical condition.
“Today we have 582 mechanical ventilators available. Nationwide, the occupancy rate of these machines is 77%, while in the Metropolitan Region, this increases to 87%,” said Undersecretary Zúñiga.
He added that to address the situation, “we have significantly increased the availability of critical beds in the country, brought ventilators from other parts of Chile to the Metropolitan Region and hired more healthcare personnel. Now 7,200 people have been hired.”
He said that Senators will vote today in the first legislative stage on the bill to suspend for the duration of the pandemic the requirement for foreign doctors to have passed the general medical exam known as Eunacom in order to practice in Chile. “We call on the Senators to approve this bill quickly, as that will enable us to have more qualified human resources.”
In the update on the development of the pandemic in Chile, Public Health Undersecretary Paula Daza announced that 1,658 new cases had been recorded in Chile, of which 1,479 were people with symptoms and 179 were people without symptoms.
To date 14,125 people have already recovered from the disease, while 17,261 people still have the active virus and can therefore infect others.
Speaking about the people who died yesterday, the Undersecretary regretted the passing of 12 people whose deaths were related to COVID-19. Seven of them were people with chronic diseases. They were from the following regions: 6 from the Metropolitan Region, 1 from Ñuble, 1 from La Araucanía, 1 from Biobío, 2 from Valparaíso and 1 from Los Lagos. They bring the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 335 people.