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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Health chief insists on continued COVID-19 vigilance

Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López

By John McPhaul

Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López on Thursday insisted on continued testing for the early detection of cases of COVID-19, along with the use of masks, and announced the detection centers that will be open during the Easter holidays.

“Many people take advantage of the solemnity of Holy Week to participate in processions and religious activities. Others carry out leisure activities,” Mellado López said in a written statement. “We make a call that no matter what the activity, practice it safely and get tested for COVID-19.”

Coronavirus testing took place at numerous sites around the island Thursday, and detection tests will be conducted at the Parquesito Monte Santo in Vieques on Friday and on Saturday at the Recreation and Sports Palace in Mayagüez.

The Health secretary went on to say that, according to the agency’s epidemiological analysis, the incidence of average cases in the past seven days is around 208 cases per 100,000 people.

“Between Monday and Wednesday, 4,000 cases were recorded,” he said. “In accordance with Administrative Order 533 issued on March 8, 2022, we are at a moderate level for what the order establishes and we recommend the use of masks in all crowded events. We are looking closely at hospital occupancy; at the moment we are at 99 people hospitalized, which represents 1.8 percent.”

Melissa Marzán, the Health Department’s primary epidemiology officer, added that “we remain cautious and vigilant against COVID-19 and community transmission.”

“Cases continue to rise, so we emphasize the implementation of prevention measures to stop the spread,” she said. “The use of a mask, especially in closed places, and avoiding the crowding of people are still highly recommended.”

Marzán also emphasized that “early detection of the disease helps us stop the spread and in turn, link available treatments, especially for those most vulnerable populations; that is, people with pre-existing conditions and those over 60 years of age.”

Monoclonal and antiviral treatments are an effective alternative for infected people, according to the Health Department.

Anyone with a positive result can contact the department’s call center at 787-522-3985 to speak with a health professional.

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