Saturday, August 1, 2020
I’m going to do two updates today as there’s a lot of information that needs to be posted first thing this morning for my neighbors in Cusco.
There is a great deal of uncertainty about what is going to happen. This is a direct result of the last-minute imposition of the quarantine without allowing local and regional authorities the time to prepare and adapt.
Expect a lot of details regarding the implementation to be coming out in the next 48-72 hours. (There are some very interesting rumors going around among some media sources which may or may not turn out to be accurate. As always, I won’t report any of them until confirmation.)
I’m about to go out and see what I can learn about what’s actually going on in the city on the first day of the new quarantine period. Please understand if I’m unable to answer questions quickly while I’m out.
You can wait for the daily updates to be posted in the late afternoon/early evening, or your can follow me on Twitter (@ExploreCusco) to get immediate updates on breaking news during the day. I use Twitter to share big news that occurs during each day (and a lot is happening right now) and I strongly recommend that you follow me on Twitter to get immediate updates.
You can also follow me on Instagram (@SouthAmericanTraveler) for great photos, but I use Twitter for news updates.
Cusco’s COVID-19 Command Regulations for the Quarantine
Last night Cusco COVID Regional Command listed the following orders regarding implementation of the quarantine in the Cusco province:
- The military and police will resume control of social mobility while maintaining monitoring of approved economic activities in phase 3 of Economic Reactivation.
- Curfew will last from 8:00 pm to 04:00 am the next day and social immobilization will be respected on Sunday all day long.
- For urban transport, the capacity will be inspected to be 50 % and all must wear a mask and face protector.
- Air transport will be carried out with restrictions and health control upon arrival of passengers at the airport.
- Markets will be open Monday to Friday from 6.00 am to 2:00 pm.
- The number of people on the streets will be limited by the military.
Note that the section about the airport says that there will be “restrictions and health control upon arrival of passengers” without any details about what those will be. It’s possible that a quarantine will be required as was done for people arriving by bus during the first quarantine period.
While the airport may be open, flights are already being cancelled — including my flight to Lima next Friday.
Also, the “monitoring of approved economic activities in phase 3 of Economic Reactivation” is a very open statement. There is an interpretation of this that previous approved service activities will still be allowed with restrictions and limitations.
As for what will happen with restaurants, barber shops/peluquerias, laundries, etc. — I expect more information on those to be released soon.
Sadly, I spoke with several dozen different business owners yesterday and absolutely none any idea what was going to happen and didn’t know where to get guidance.
Cusco Deputy Governor on Hospital Collapse
La Republica reported this morning that Cusco’s deputy governor, Delia Condo, made a dramatic plea to President Martín Vizcarra to help stem the tide of contagion and death from the new coronavirus.
“From Cusco I make an emergency call, because our hospitals have collapsed. We urgently need beds in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), intensive care specialists, and more beds for moderates,” Condo said.
The head of COVID Regional Command, Victor del Carpio, said last week that the virus’ R factor of reproduction had escalated from 1 to 1.5 and in the provinces of Santa Anta (La Convención) and Cusco it reached 2. Before yesterday the death rate rose 2.06%.
The large Regional and Antonio Lorena hospitals of the Regional Health Directorate and Adolfo Guevara Velasco of EsSalud are packed with patients with COVID-19. There are huge queues in the access areas. A patient must wait between four and ten hours to be treated.
Last Tuesday, three patients arrived dead at the COVID Service of the Regional Hospital. In just two days (Monday and Tuesday), 11 died of coronavirus. Their bodies are piled up in the nosocomial morgue. At the Adolfo Guevara Velasco Hospital, 11 patients died in one day. “The situation is quite critical,” warns Victor Manchego Enriquez, manager of the Cusco Healthcare Network of EsSalud.
Manchego, however, warned that they are expanding the beds for hospitalization. The transfer of the use of the private clinic Oxigen Medical Network to transfer non-COVID patients will help in this regard. Thus, the insurance hospital will be used exclusively as an establishment for insured persons infected with coronavirus.
Deaths occur because there are no longer any ICU beds to care for critical patients and there is a shortage of medical staff. At EsSalud, all 18 beds are occupied. Seven patients are on mechanical ventilators and 11 are fighting for their lives with oxygen bottles.
There are also no ICU beds left at the Regional Hospital, and only six remained at the Modular Hospital of the 100 for moderate patients until Wednesday. A patient must wait in a wheelchair until a bed is released. Almost always, says a health worker, a bed is available when a patient dies. Sometimes ironically a death can save another life.
A family member of a patient at Regional complains that doctors have begun to decide who lives. “If it’s ICU or critical not yet, but in triage, if we see that the patient is asymptomatic or not serious, we tell him to go home. We’re not giving him the attention he should have. We are prioritizing serious and moderate patients who require hospitalization,” denied Enrique Arana, head of the COVID service.
The president of the medical corps, Diomedes Arias, denounced that after the collapse of the services, a team of professionals were physically and psychologically attacked by relatives of patients with COVID-19.
COVID in Cusco
The Regional Health Directorate finally released COVID data for June 30 (which is not two days old). They reported 309 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths.
Unfortunately, they did not release any data about the hospital situation which La Republica reports is completely out of ICU beds and has collapsed.
The positivity rate for the previous day’s testing did, however fall dramatically to 11.3% after reaching 30.2% the day before.
Daily COVID Update from Minsa
The latest Ministry of Health report on COVID came out in the middle of the night around 1:30 am. The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise rapidly as 7,243 new cases were reported. Fortunately, the number of deaths dropped from the previous day to 195.
Also, the positivity rate dropped to the lowest in 6 days, though it still is very high at 24.1%.
There are 13,577 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 1,414 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation. So far 287,127 people have completed their period of home isolation or have been discharged from a health facility.
Minsa once again did not report totals from individual regions which is probably good as there have been serious discrepancies between what they have reported and what the individual Regional Health Directorates have been reporting. (Minsa’s totals have been dramatically less.)
Here is a chart I found showing some very interesting details about what has been reported directly from the regions as well as cases per 100,000 which is quite telling. I didn’t confirm all of the regional figures, but I checked several at random and they were all accurate.
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