‘Nobody Has Accurate Data’: Health Sec. González Sorry Puerto Rico Doesn’t Have Accurate COVID-19 Count

Coronavirus cases Puerto Rico

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By Associated Press

April 20, 2020

Imperfect math is leading the Coronavirus response in Puerto Rico, positive cases have been counted double, and there are thousands of test results pending.

Five weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, Puerto Rico still doesn’t have an accurate number of positive cases or a system in place to find out.

Newly appointed Health Secretary Lorenzo González acknowledged during Saturday’s press conference that the island’s COVID-19 related data is not entirely accurate because some positive cases might have been counted twice or even three times. He said that the government is working to improve it.

“It’s imperfect data, but we’re going to use it … because it’s the one we have,” he said.

González said he hopes to eventually make missing data available, including the number of people who have recuperated from COVID-19.

“All 50 states in the United States, and I’m not defending myself; like the rest of the world, today nobody has accurate data,” González said to the Center for Investigative Journalism. 

As of today, Puerto Rico has reported 1,252 confirmed cases and more than 1,800 pending test results, with a total of 11,633 tested on an island of 3.2 million, the lowest per capita testing rate compared with any U.S. state.

RELATED: UPDATED: This Map Shows Where And Who Coronavirus Has Hit The Hardest In Puerto Rico

At least 63 deaths have been reported, including that of a 29-year-old man whose father identified him as Joshua James Sánchez and said he had no chronic health conditions. The father, Luis Ángel Sánchez, accused health workers in a social media post of testing and admitting his son only after he went into respiratory failure.

As a growing number of Puerto Ricans demand more widespread testing, among other things, they have organized drive-by protests and bang on pots every night to signal their displeasure with the administration of Gov. Wanda Vázquez, who has been praised, however, for placing the island on lockdown since March 15.

The lockdown is scheduled to expire on May 3, but González said he will recommend it be extended to at least June 1 since the peak of cases isn’t expected until early May.

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