Sunday, July 5, 2020

Health Secretary assures Puerto Rico is ‘a little better prepared’ for coronavirus

By on June 1, 2020

Health Secretary Lorenzo González Photo by Nahira Montcourt | Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

Says island is headed in ‘right direction’

SAN JUAN – The secretary of the Department of Health, Lorenzo González Feliciano, said the agency is headed in the right direction in handling the emergency caused by COVID-19 and that the system is “a little better prepared.”

“I think we are doing the right thing. More and more can definitely be done, but we are in the right direction,” said González Feliciano in a radio interview (NotiUno).

The data released Monday by the department reveals there have been a total 3,873 positive cases of the novel disease, while the death toll remains at 136. In the last few hours, 97 cases were reported.

“More tests are being done. Definitely, as more tests are done, [there will be] more positives and today’s report, despite the fact that there are 97 positives, zero are [from] molecular [tests]. They are all serological. Likewise, no person was reported dead today, thank God,” the official said.

He highlighted that a publication over the weekend tells that the data from the Public Health Trust showed that in Puerto Rico more than 100,000 molecular tests have been carried out, which places the island in a positive position compared to other states and countries, regarding the rate of infection.

The official indicated that hospitals are at 40 percent occupancy, while ventilator utilization is diminished, particularly for COVID-19 patients. He added that the number of intensive care rooms for patients with COVID-19 has also decreased.

“We are a little better prepared and to the extent that we have the Plaquenil, the antiviral, Dr. Cabanillas with the steroid protocol and the transfusions. So we are a little better prepared. You definitely can’t let your guard down. We continue to look at the positive cases, but we also continue to look at the use of the resources of hospitals and medical services and that is very important,” he assured.

He insisted on the importance of the use of masks, hand washing and maintaining the social distance of 6 feet.

Meanwhile, amid the reopening of the shopping malls, the secretary said that “we have been very close to the efforts that the businesses are making, particularly the big businesses and we participated in the discussion of the plans they have. They have very strong plans, particularly mandatory masks, the distancing, that the number of people inside the closed malls not to exceed one person per 100 square feet. We are evaluating that very closely with them.”

The secretary said the chart on the recovered patients will be released this week. He clarified that these data are available, since they are used to inform Blood Banks to identify those who may be plasma donors with the antibodies for infected people.

He noted that the department continues to work on tracking infected patients and that the regional directors, peripheral teams have solidified and that people are being recruited to improve these tracking systems.

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