Friday, October 23, 2020

Coronavirus case registry surges over weekend

By on September 21, 2020

Screen capture of the Department of Health’s Facebook page

Contact tracing finds family, work are greatest sources of spread

SAN JUAN – The second week after Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced allowed more businesses to reopen and relaxed restrictions for others, coronavirus cases rose by the hundreds.

To date, the Health Department has registered a combined 42,476 cases—20,311 confirmed via molecular tests and 22,165 positive serological test results. In the case of the latter, the department refers to them as “probable” cases, while the molecular results are considered confirmed cases because of the precise diagnostic testing used.

Although the count for Monday’s report was 230 confirmed cases and 243 probable ones, greater numbers were registered over the weekend reports. On Saturday, the Health Department reported 871 new cases: 492 cases found via molecular, or PCR testing; and 379 through serological tests. The number of new cases rose further in Sunday’s report with 683 positive cases just with the PCR tests alone, plus 432 positive results through serological tests.

The Municipal Case Investigation and Contact Tracing System (SMICRC by its Spanish initials), which is in charge of the contact tracing system for most island towns, reported that 67 percent of the spread is happening through family-related contact, while 18 percent is related to work activity.

Citing the 67 percent, Mónica Feliú Mójer, the program manager at Ciencia Puerto Rico, stressed that the high figure is why health experts are so insistent in asking people not to have house parties or family reunions.

However, Feliú Mójer added that “the report doesn’t indicate [and is hard to determine] where the original contact comes from, but it was probably not in the family reunion. It could have been at work, the supermarket or any other place.”

The Health Department’s daily Covid-19 report does not include how many active cases there are. However, Worldometers, which receives data from several official and media sources, pegs the island’s active cases at 39,600.

One additional death due to the coronavirus disease was registered in Monday’s report, raising the number of confirmed deaths to 439, while the number of probably Covid-19 deaths remains 170 cases, for a combined total of 609.

“The change in the number of deaths should not be interpreted as having occurred in the last 24 hours. Likewise, it is important to point out that the death report may vary to the extent that the registration and coding processes of the causes of death occur, which could take several days,” the department reminded readers of its daily report.

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