Medellín is in a critical phase due to the hospital collapse, with an ICU occupancy of 98%, which this Wednesday forced the authorities to tighten mobility restrictions to face the third peak of the covid-19 pandemic.
“We are at the limit in UCI’s expansion plan, but it is not enough. We must continue to work tirelessly. It is the most critical moment, ”said Luis Fernando Suárez, governor in charge of the department of Antioquia, whose capital is Medellín, at a press conference.
The serious situation was evidenced by the maximum alert in twelve hospitals and clinics in the Aburrá Valley, where Medellín is located, and in nearby municipalities such as Rionegro, which declared a “grade III hospital emergency” due to the huge demand for medical care.
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For that reason, Medellín, which had already been applying restrictions such as dry law at different times and alternating access to shops, will begin a lockdown this Thursday that will end next Monday and will extend to a large part of Antioquia.
The city has 4,676 active cases, out of a total of 221,144 infected, of which 212,507, equivalent to 96%, have recovered.
Medical staff triples efforts
The Medellín official, William Yeffer Vivas, told Efe that the “greatest concern” is the fact that the city has an “occupancy of 98.25% of ICU beds; today we only have 16 beds available ”.
“They are enabling more beds, but today we would be at 100% occupancy because the number of patients requiring ICU beds is higher than the number of available beds,” he said.
The official revealed that to “save lives”, the Medellín health centers have had to refer more than 20 patients to other cities in the department and the country that “do not have this crisis.”
“Today we have 122 people waiting to be placed in an ICU bed,” he said.
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Vivas said that the efforts to bring medical personnel from other regions have been difficult because cities like Pereira, Cali and Barranquilla, which have supported them, are also experiencing an escalation of infections.
Last weekend a medical mission made up of 39 professionals arrived in Medellín, all trained in the management of covid-19, to reinforce care for the most critical patients.
“Our medical staff will have to triple their shifts to be able to operate those ICU beds,” said the official who, commenting on the situation in Medellín, said that “the vaccination gave us a feeling that the virus had passed, but it is still alive and is with more force ”.
New ICU beds
The Medellín Ministry of Health reported that 171 new ICU beds were enabled in recent days and expects to “activate” an additional 30 in the coming days.
“Easter has created great pressure. Many came infected from their trips, “said the mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, on his Twitter account.
Antioquia has more than 15,000 active cases of coronavirus and the occupation of its care units is at 94.4%, for which the medical union of the region requested a total closure for 14 days.
According to the Ministry of Health, this department added another 2,479 positive cases and 50 deaths on Tuesday, and since the beginning of the pandemic it adds 387,000 infected and 7,210 deaths.
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“The cases that are reported today demand health services within the next seven to ten days. That means that the health sector will continue to limit for at least two more weeks, ”said the governor, who hopes to break that trend with the new confinement and self-care measures.
Currently, the department of Antioquia has 1,307 ICU beds, of which 1,234 are occupied.
The governor urged the business sector to adopt teleworking measures and flexibilization of schedules so that the crowds seen in the Medellín Metro are not repeated, which can turn this transport system into a source of contagion.