The spike of coronavirus cases on the island is affecting first responders dramatically: 686 police officers are on quarantine.
SAN JUAN –– The number of first responders infected by COVID-19 is increasing in Puerto Rico, as the positive cases continue to arise on the island.
Dr. Víctor Ramos, president of Puerto Rico’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, said on Thursday more doctors and nurses have tested positive to the novel virus.
Ramos confirmed at least 47 doctors have been infected; 16 of them in a period of two weeks.
“We had 31 [doctors who tested positive]; the numbers stayed within that range for two months. Now we’re up to 47. Within the past two weeks, the numbers have soared as they have in the general population,” the president told Primera Hora.
Ramos confirmed one of the doctors infected with the virus is hospitalized in critical condition.
The doctor made it clear this situation does not imply a lack of health personnel in hospitals.
Julio Irson, the spokesperson for the College of Nursing Practice of Puerto Rico, also confirmed the increase in the number of nurses who have become infected. During the past weeks, the numbers have ascended by 200 to 300 cases, he explained.
Police officers are also one of the most affected groups. Currently, 12 police stations have closed after confirming positive test results in some officials.
As of Friday, there are 686 police officers in quarantine and 37 have tested positive for COVID-19. Those cases include one official of La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, and two in the headquarters of Puerto Rico’s police.
On Wednesday, Pedro J. Janer, the secretary of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), announced the closure of the fire department and medical emergency facilities in Cataño, PR, after an employee tested positive.
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Last weekend, Gustavo Gelpí, chief judge of the United States District Court for Puerto Rico, confirmed there were seven positive cases among the 40 convicts transferred. Gelpí added more positive cases are expected.
“I reiterate that those who made [the decision to transfer inmates] at the national or regional level, without having consulted us before, were irresponsible. As a consequence, MDC Guaynabo is running a grave risk that is totally unnecessary,” Gelpí told El Vocero.
As of Friday, the local health department reported 4,794 confirmed cases and 9,173 possible cases. The death toll is at 191. Of those deaths, 90 are confirmed coronavirus deaths and 101 are from symptoms similar to a COVID infection. Of the three fatalities reported on Friday, one is a 28-year-old man from Arecibo.
Mapping out the 4,794 confirmed cases as of July 24
This story is updated once a week to reflect the most recent Coronavirus cases confirmed in Puerto Rico.