Governor maintains restrictions in new pandemic EO
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Thursday signed an executive order extending until Feb. 2 the current restrictions related to the dry law and the operations of businesses to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The restrictions call for the closing of businesses from midnight to 5 a.m. as well as limiting to 50 percent capacity the number of patrons in indoor restaurants and to 75 percent capacity for outdoor restaurants.
Starting Monday, the new order would limit to 75 percent capacity all places that serve the public and are indoors, such as shopping malls, supermarkets and pharmacies. The same occupancy capacity will also apply to government facilities that serve the public.
Pierluisi said that only those who present a booster dose against COVID-19 or a negative test carried out within 48 hours prior can attend events in which the number of participants is 250 or fewer.
Activities with more than 250 people will have to be authorized by the Department of Health for the evaluation of its protocols, as was the case with the games of the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League.
Along with Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López, Pierluisi recommended that long-term care homes for the elderly establish stricter protocols, such as limiting visits, and that hospitals limit and establish more restrictions for those who visit the facilities.
“Despite the fact that we have experienced a few days of rebound due to the arrival of the omicron variant, the measures that we have taken as a government and the responsibility of each one of us in the coming days will continue to contribute to fighting this increase in cases,” the governor said. “Therefore, I have decided to extend the current executive orders and add the occupancy limit at interior establishments and, as I have always said, I will continue to be attentive and vigilant to make changes or adjustments at any time, if necessary.”
Mellado López said “we bet on antiviral treatments and monoclonal treatment to mitigate the rise in hospitalizations.”
“They are available and we will make them more accessible to citizens,” he said. “Our goal is to keep patients out of emergency rooms, let alone hospitalized. It’s time to put on the reinforcement and maintain all protective measures. Given the rise in pediatric hospitalizations, particularly in children under five years of age, our call to parents is to maintain additional protection measures.”
With the announcement Thursday the governor also reported an incentive of $600 for public and private hospital staff, as well as for the tracking staff of the Department of Health, as financial support. Eligible hospitals are those duly licensed by the Department of Health.
Pierluisi added that it is also important to recognize the work of health personnel in hospitals, “who have not stopped their work since the coronavirus arrived on the island in March 2020.”
“To support them in their efforts, we have identified funds to be able to subsidize each one of these workers and in this way assist them financially,” he said.
The new economic aid will be disbursed to both full-time employees and contractors who meet minimum hours worked.
Eligible personnel will be those who are working in person and who have had a maximum income of $55,000 during the 2021 calendar year. The governor clarified that this assistance is not premium pay and that it is a different program.
Likewise, those who receive the assistance will be required to continue working in the respective institutions for at least three months after receiving the disbursement.
The Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF by its Spanish initials) will begin the process of receiving applications directly from the institutions in the coming days.
Separately, The Department of Health reported on Thursday some 1,634 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, 4,585 probable cases and 25 deaths.
The deceased spanned the ages of 57 to 97 years.
The monitoring covers the period from Dec. 28, 2021 to Jan. 11, 2022.
The positivity rate rose to 36.1 percent.
There were 810 hospitalized adults as of Thursday’s report and of them, 117 were in intensive care. Meanwhile, 95 minors were hospitalized and six were in intensive care. Seventy-three adults and two minors were on ventilators..
With one dose there were at least 2,801, 203 people. With the doses completed there were 2,501,016 people.
Total deaths attributed to COVID-19 stood at 3,446.