• The Star Staff

Pierluisi, head of Nurses Assn. favor greater lockdown if infection hospitalization trends continue

By John McPhaul


Governor-elect Pedro Pierluisi said in a radio interview Tuesday that he would support a greater closure of activities in Puerto Rico if there is a danger of the island’s hospital system collapsing.

“What I am watching out for are the intensive care units and the ventilators,” Pierluisi said in an interview on “Pegaos en la Mañana” on Radio Isla 1320 AM. “With ventilators there does not appear to be a problem. In intensive care units,” he said available space appears to be “not so much.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Ana Cristina García, president of the Puerto Rico Association of Nursing Professionals, recommended that a greater shutdown of activities be established on the island to stop the rise in cases of COVID-19 and avoid a collapse of hospital operations.

“If we continue as we are, there will be a collapse due to lack of personnel in the work areas,” García said in a separate radio interview. “I would like to recommend to the governor [Wanda Vázquez Garced] that since we are at such worrying levels, that the most correct thing is that before Christmas begins, and we already have Thanksgiving here this Thursday, that they do a lockdown to avoid infections and prevent a level of collapse of the health systems from being reached.”

Pierluisi accepted as possible a “total closure” of public activities in Puerto Rico if the number of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continues to increase.

He said that if it is concluded that there is going to be a collapse of the hospital system, a full closure should be put into effect.

“Unless this conclusion is reached, a total closure should not occur,” Pierluisi stressed.

On Monday, Vázquez said on her Twitter account that “at this time, malicious information that has circulated about an alleged lockdown is totally false.”

“Future decisions about the pandemic will be made as we have done today, in front of the people, responsibly and with professional medical staff. Protect yourself!” the governor said in her Twitter account @wandavazquezg.

In addition to the need to hospitalize hundreds of people with COVID-19, it is also the time of the highest incidence of flu (influenza). There are also many cases of dengue and mycoplasma, the latter being a disease of the respiratory system caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which is a microscopic organism related to bacteria.

The island Health Department on Tuesday reported six deaths from COVID-19, while 293 confirmed cases, 61 probable cases and 129 additional suspected cases were registered.

In total, 1,038 people have died from COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, six more than in Monday’s report, while 626 people are hospitalized, 19 more than the previous day. In intensive care there are 111 patients, 11 more than in Monday’s report. One of them is a pediatric case. There are 105 people on ventilators, six more than the day before.

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