The increase in coronavirus has been more “evident” in the last three weeks, says Francisco Viteri, Secretary of Health of the Municipality. In case of increasing demand, the health authority will implement more units.
The number of infections in Ecuador increased since October and Quito was no exception. In addition, after the celebrations for the capital, Christmas and New Year’s Eve at the PCR test points – both in the national and municipal health systems – long lines have been seen.
Francisco Viteri, Secretary of Health of the Municipality of Quito, explains to LA HORA the epidemiological situation in the city.
Can we say that Quito is experiencing a new wave of covid?
From the records we have on epidemiological curves, worldwide there is an upturn in infections since mid-October 2021. Obeys the appearance of new variants.
In September we had a significant decrease in transmission, reaching low conditions. For example, in Quito, in that month we had 40 to 50 weekly cases of contagion. But, in mid-October an increase began to be noticed, which is reflected nationally and internationally. In Quito, the increase is has become more noticeable in the last three weeks.
What are the levels of contagion among the population?
The last recorded value, according to statistics, is 15.3% test positivity, which took place in week 51 of the year (from December 20 to 26, 2021).
Was the peak higher in January?
Indeed. For example, in September 2021, positivity was 2.5% in Quito and now -January 2022- we are at 15.3%, that is, there is a sustained increase, which is due to this new wave of infections.
“There is a high demand for PCR tests in the world, so we must apply them technically to avoid stockouts.”
In September 2021, the positivity was 2.5% in Quito and now-January 2022- we are at 15.3%, that is, there is a sustained increase
Did the number of people killed by covid rise?
No. This was a behavior that was also reflected on an international scale. What does that mean with the vaccine cases have decreased in severity and mortality. From week 40 we have had a mortality of 1 to 2 patients maximum per weekThere are even weeks without reports of death, which brings us to a mortality rate of -19.8% until December 2021.
Is the health system ready to face outbreaks?
We still have a responsive capacity for both hospitalization and intensive care. For example, in intensive care we are bordering 50% of bed occupancy, both in the public and private networks. In hospitalization we are around 60%, of which are still assigned for this disease.
Let us remember that once the cases decreased significantly after vaccination, the units covid that existed in many hospitals were closed; they stayed in the Pablo Arturo Suárez and the Quito IESS Sur Hospital, which are currently concentrating the attention.
We understand that, if demand increases, the health authority will implement more units covid.
205.000 casos de covid se registraron en Quito hasta el 7 de enero de 2022 .
There is talk that omicron is weaker than its predecessors and that it could be considered as the beginning of the end of the covid, is there scientific evidence to support it?
We know that omicron is highly transmissible. It is estimated to be 12 to 15 times more rapidly transmissible than the delta variant andat least 30 times more than the original covid. This, combined with the lower severity caused by this variant, makes us think that, indeed, this is going to be one of the variants that will gradually decrease the intensity of the disease. The number of infected people will increase, but there will not be excess severity among patients or the mortality that we find in previous variants, that is what is presumed.
We still have to study the virus to see the behavior in the medium term.
Why is the effectiveness of the vaccine less with omicron?
The vaccines are designed for the structure virus genetics and they generate specific antibodies. The mutation in the variants creates different properties that make it less susceptible to certain levels of defense generated by the vaccine. For example, at the moment the new IHU variant is being studied, which was discovered or started in Cameroon, then went to France, and has 46 genetic mutations with respect to the original virus.
Given so much suspicion of covid, wouldn’t it be better to have rapid pharmacy tests as in other countries?
Of course, we are pending that the technological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic advance, which is being developed in the world, is scientifically proven and has the necessary regulations. We know that specific treatment is being tested to, at least, lower the severity of the cases and a domestic diagnosis.
In the United States, they are thinking of developing a rapid test that people can do at home and if it tests positive, start taking a five-day treatment that reduces symptoms.
For our country must pass all health records and be approved so that we can opt for a strategy that way. (MR)
Hasta el 7 de enero de 2021, en Quito no hubo lista de espera para atención en Unidades de Cuidados Intensivos.
95% de las camas en UCI están ocupadas, según Juan Sánchez, director técnico médico del IESS Sur.