Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Second Person Dies of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico

By on March 23, 2020

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico’s Health Department reported Monday the death of a second person from the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, a 73-year-old man, residing from New York, who was on vacation on the island.

In a press release that does not specify how long the victim had been on the island, the department reported that the man, who was traveling with his wife, began to develop symptoms in Puerto Rico and was treated in an isolation room of a metro area hospital, where he was tested for COVID-19. However, the release adds, “after various complications” related to his condition, “the patient died.”

New York Times reporter Frances Robles tweeted Sunday that the man’s daughter had contacted her, saying she was having trouble learning about his condition. The tweet was at 5:30 p.m., but at 11:30 p.m., she was informed of his passing.

Eight new cases

The Health Department also said that confirmed COVID-19 infections continue to rise on the island. Six Health Department tests came back positive, as did two from the Veterans Hospital. These bring the total number of known cases to 31.

The Health Department cases are of two men, a 43-year-old from the metro area and an 88-year-old from the Mayagüez region. The rest are two women, ages 30 and 31, from the metro area, a 76-year-old from the Caguas region and a 58-year-old from the Ponce region.

The two Veterans Hospital cases are of two men, one who is 49 years old and the other 26 years old. These are in addition to 11 other positive results, of which only one is a 55-year-old female, to date at the federal hospital, for a total of 13.

In a phone interview with Radio Isla, the head of the Puerto Rico Office of the Advocate for Veterans, Agustín Montañez, said the cases were detected because the institution screens patients as part of its protocol.

With these developments, Puerto Rico residents are urged to redouble efforts to maintain social, or physical, distancing and avoid leaving their homes, in addition to taking preventive measures.

“This is an extremely serious matter in which we must assume individual responsibility for the collective good. Stay at home, wash your hands constantly, clean surfaces and maintain social distance, especially if you are sick, isolate yourself for 14 days,” Dr. Concepción Quiñones de Longo, interim secretary of Health, stressed.

For his part, Dr. Segundo Rodríguez Quilichini, director of the COVID-19 Medical Task Force, expressed his condolences on behalf of the administration “for this second person who died because of the coronavirus and who arrived on the island in March from the United States. This situation reminds us of the seriousness of this matter and why we are asking the citizens to stay at home. Save your life and that of others. Civic duty, handwashing and maintaining your mental health are key pieces to face this challenge in the best possible way,” he said.

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