Puerto Rico Just Hit a Record Number of COVID Hospitalizations


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By Mivette Vega

December 10, 2020

The island’s tenuous situation continues and has claimed 1,238 lives so far. Local intensive care units are at 70% occupancy.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—The local Health Department reported on Thursday that 657 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 on the island, setting a new record.

Of those patients, 99 are in intensive care units (ICU) with 106 requiring artificial ventilators.

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The previous record was set on Dec. 1, when the department reported 638 hospitalizations.

According to data collected by a group of professionals called Task Force Ciudadano, the increase of patients in the ICU puts them at 70.11% of their total capacity.

A High Risk Level

As of Thursday, the Health Department reported 57,096 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 44,667 possible cases. The island’s death toll is 1,238. Of those deaths, 996 are confirmed coronavirus deaths, and 242 are from symptoms similar to a COVID infection. 

According to the numbers, 74 of the 78 municipalities of the island have a positivity rate of 10% or more, a high contagion level.

One of the most affected municipalities is the island of Vieques, which is dealing with an outbreak after months of only a few cases.

On Sunday, the Health Department reported 27 new cases of COVID on Vieques, in comparison to the 29 total cases reported during the past six months. 

Jorge Fernández, coordinator of the island’s tracking initiative, told local news broadcast Noticentro the infections are the result of family gatherings, workplace environments, and a group of tourists from Texas incubating the virus. They had come to spend Thanksgiving on the island and tested positive upon returning home. 

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Vieques faces added difficulties because the municipality lacks a hospital. Patients have to be transported by boat or air ambulance for treatment.

The Puerto Rico Public Health Trust said November presented an unprecedented increase in cases, including nearly 300 deaths and over 17,000 new positive cases.




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