More than 160 elderly have died in island care facilities due to COVID-19

By John McPhaul

Juanita Aponte Morales, president of the Long-Term Care Centers Owners Association, said Tuesday in a radio interview that more than 160 older adults have died as a result of 75 outbreaks of COVID-19 in island elder care facilities to date.

“In Puerto Rico, the virus [that causes COVID-19] has been well controlled in our institutions,” Aponte Morales said in the interview. “We were very efficient and the virus had not entered, but time passes and the community is already being impacted by the virus, so we are starting to report [cases and deaths].”

“And it was about time that we started with this because perhaps younger populations that are infected with the virus and are contagious can overcome it,” she added. “The older adults that we serve are people who have a lowered immune system, so we can lose them much more easily.”

Aponte Morales estimated “that there are at least 15 active outbreaks; we know they are there right now.”

“And sometimes in large institutions, of 100 people, which then is much more risky,” she said. “Because in small institutions it is possible to segregate [individuals] and attend [to an outbreak] in a more nimble way, but when it is in large institutions, then the situation becomes complicated.”

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