Thursday, October 22, 2020

Puerto Rico Health secretary tests positive for Covid-19

By on October 14, 2020

Health Secretary Lorenzo González (File)

SAN JUAN — The secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health, Lorenzo González Feliciano, announced Wednesday that he tested positive for Covid-19. One of his recent contacts, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, will not be attending in-person meetings for the rest of the week despite testing negative.

Secretary González said in a statement that he was tested after having been traveling “for the past few days”—reportedly in New York and visiting his daughters elsewhere—and will go into “isolation for the recommended time,” as per “Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology” guidelines.

The health official assured that he provided “information about the people” with whom he spent time over “the past few days, so that the corresponding contact tracing can begin” and those around him can get tested and isolate, while their respective information is collected as well.

“Although I will keep working remotely from home, as long as my health allows it, I will [not participate in] any public activity,” the Health secretary said, asking “everyone for space to handle this health situation, with the commitment to rejoin” his work team and public life in person “as soon as possible.”

On Thursday, Oct. 8, Gov. Vázquez announced that she had tested negative for the novel disease after arriving from a trip to Orlando and New York.

“Responsibly, before traveling to the United States and now when I arrived in the island, I took the molecular test for COVID-19, and both tests were negative,” the governor said.

Her office said the staff who traveled with her tested negative as well but that she would be tested in five days, which she reportedly did so four days later, or Tuesday, and tested negative.

Given that the governor met with González on Tuesday before taking her test, all meetings and activities scheduled for this week were postponed or will be attended virtually, as recommended by the undersecretary of Health, Dr. Iris Cardona. Vázquez will continue to work remotely and be tested again in five days.

The administration of the governor’s mansion, the Santa Catalina Palace, is carrying out its disinfection protocol.

While in New York, the governor met with, among others, the special representative for Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery at the White House, Rear Adm. Peter Brown; Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) staff; and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 2 Administrator Tom Von Essen. Last Wednesday, she met with members of the island’s Financial Oversight and Management Board.