• The Star Staff

Is coronavirus peaking again on the island?



By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics Executive Director Orville Disdier Flores said Thursday in a radio interview that a peak of coronavirus infections similar to that of last March is taking place.


“The indicators, unfortunately, are telling us that in late June and early July, a spike in the number of cases of COVID[-19] infections is very similar to what we had in late March and early April,” Disdier Flores said on the NotiUno 630 AM program “Normando en la Mañana.” “We may be experiencing daily increases of more than 60 cases confirmed by the PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test.”


Disdier Flores urged that particular attention be paid to the high rates of COVID-19 infection in the island’s western region and in the San Juan metropolitan area.


Health Secretary Lorenzo González Feliciano meanwhile confirmed the death of a 13-year-old girl from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. On Thursday morning the agency reported zero deaths due to the virus.


“We are aware of the death of a 13-year-old teenager,” González Feliciano said in a written communication. “The preliminary information received establishes that the doctor certified COVID-19 as the cause of death of the young woman.”


However, the Health secretary said he was waiting for the death certificate to confirm the causes of the teen’s death in Caguas.


“At this time, we are waiting to receive the Death Certificate at the offices of the Demographic Registry to confirm the information,” he said. “Once the documentation is complete, we will issue the official information to all the media.”


According to the department, 147 people were hospitalized on Thursday due to COVID-19, an increase of 20 when compared to Wednesday.


At press time Thursday, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico stood at 1,107 women and 1,128 men, for a total of 2,235. The total number of confirmed cases was adjusted after adding three cases, one with a sample collection date of June 16 and two cases with a sample collection date of June 23.


Reported cases are those that have a positive PCR test, with a sample date of June 28 to July 6.


Several positive cases at long-term care home Family Secretary Orlando López Belmonte announced Thursday that the Elderly Task Force confirmed four additional positive cases of COVID-19 involving residents of a long-term care home for older adults in Carolina.


López Belmonte said he instructed the licensing staff to carry out the required intervention to ensure that safety measures and isolation protocol are followed with positive residents.


“The home currently has an enrollment of 59 residents, of whom 27 are in the custody of the State and 32 privately,” the Family secretary said in a written statement. “I have ordered the [department’s] licensing and protection staff to closely supervise and closely collaborate with the home to achieve full compliance with health and safety measures, as well as assist them in whatever is necessary to protect the rest of the residents. Household staff are communicating with the families of each of the residents of the home to inform them of the measures being taken.”


Last Monday, the first positive case of COVID-19 was reported with a molecular test (out of five conducted) corresponding to an adult over 61 years of age from the same long-term care home, who is currently hospitalized and remains in stable condition. During the epidemiological investigation process, a 52-year-old man was identified with conditions that compromised his health, was hospitalized, tested positive for the COVID-19 molecular test, and died.


On the same day, molecular and serological tests were performed on all residents and employees of the home, with detection of three COVID-19 positive residents, which were reported Thursday. The cases are females between the ages of 76 to 84. According to a statement, all the people are asymptomatic and stable.


The home has 38 employees, who have previously undergone rigorous testing. Those personnel also participated in the taking of samples in the home.

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