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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 15, 2024  1 month, 6 days, 9 hours, 50 minutes ago

COVID-19 News: COVID-19 Positivity Rates In Puerto Rico Reaches 28.49 Percent! Hospitals On Verge Of Collapse!

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COVID-19 News: COVID-19 Positivity Rates In Puerto Rico Reaches 28.49 Percent! Hospitals On Verge Of Collapse!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 15, 2024  1 month, 6 days, 9 hours, 50 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: The island of Puerto Rico is currently grappling with an unprecedented healthcare crisis as COVID-19 positivity rates continue to surge, reaching a distressing 28.49% on January 13, 2024.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rising In Puerto Rico
This alarming uptick has thrust the healthcare system into chaos, with hospitals strained to their limits and concerns rising about the potential collapse of the medical infrastructure. In this in-depth exploration, we delve into the multifaceted aspects of the crisis, examining the latest data, the impact on hospitals, prevalent symptoms, and the urgent calls for preventive measures.
Positivity Rates and Transmission Levels
The latest report from the Health Department reveals a deeply concerning trajectory in COVID-19 positivity rates in Puerto Rico. While the initial week of 2024 witnessed a positivity rate of 27.82%, the situation deteriorated rapidly, reaching 28.49% by January 13, 2024. This substantial increase underscores the challenges faced in containing the spread of the virus.
During the period from December 31, 2023, to January 6, 2024, community transmission was categorized as high, reflecting the rapid transmission of the virus within the community. The incidence indicator painted a grim picture, with a substantial transmission level reported at 84.77 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Epidemiological week number 1 indicated a high general transmission level, marked by the ominous color red. Reinfection rates also saw a troubling surge, reaching 74 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on January 3, 2024. This upward trend began in the last week of November 2023 and remained stable until the latest report, recording a reinfection rate of 62 per 100,000 inhabitants on January 6, 2024.
Hospital Situation and Deaths
The escalating positivity rates have triggered a cascading effect on Puerto Rico's healthcare infrastructure. As of January 6, 2024, the island witnessed an increasing trend in hospitalizations, with 105 adults hospitalized and 17 in intensive care. Subsequently, by January 12, the number of adults hospitalized surged to 119, with an additional 16 pediatric patients requiring medical attention.
Local COVID-19 News coverages are already showing that many hospitals are not only full and short of hospital beds but the public healthcare infrastructure in Puerto Rico  is on a verge of collapse.
Despite a generally stable trend in deaths until the final epidemiological week of the report (December 31, 2023, to January 6, 2024), where 10 deaths were recorded, the strain on intensive care units was evident with 17 adults under intensive care during the same period. These numbers underscore the immense pressure faced by healthcare professionals as they navigate the complexities of treating severe COVID-19 cases.
Symptoms and Omicron Variant
An analysis of reported symptoms during the initial week of the year highlighted prevalent issues such as nasal congestion (67.41%), cough (63.59%), tiredness (28.96%), and muscle pain (27.42%). Notably, the majority of infections reported in Puerto Rico are attributed to the JN.1 lineage of the Omicron variant, known for its rapid transmission. The manifestation of these symptoms emphasizes the virulence of the variant and the challenges it presents to public health efforts.
Long COVID Warning
With a staggering 12,735 cases reported in the first 13 days of 2024, health professionals from the the Long COVID PR organization issued a stark warning about the increasing infections. They urgently called upon the Department of Health to implement preventive measures, especially in hospitals and schools. The surge in cases aligns with the resumption of in-person schooling and the upcoming San Sebastián Street Festival, anticipated to draw nearly half a million people to Old San Juan from January 18 to 21.
Hospital Overcrowding and Multiple Respiratory Diseases
Dr Carlos Díaz Vélez, the president of the College of Surgeons of Puerto Rico (CMCPR), has sounded the alarm about the overcrowded state of the country's hospitals. He attributes the surge in respiratory diseases during the holiday season, exacerbated by constant rains, to the overwhelming strain on healthcare facilities. Dr Díaz Vélez highlighted the prevalence of dengue, mycoplasma, influenza, COVID-19, and syncytial virus cases, creating a challenging situation for medical professionals.
He emphasized the increasing cases of dengue, often leading to hospitalizations due to low platelet counts and viral complications. The syncytial virus, exhibiting cold-like symptoms, has further strained hospitals, as individuals seek testing in the absence of readily available diagnostic tests.
Puerto Rico is confronting an unprecedented healthcare crisis, with soaring COVID-19 positivity rates pushing hospitals to the brink. The island's healthcare system is under immense strain, and urgent, comprehensive measures are imperative to mitigate the spread of the virus and safeguard the well-being of the population. Collaborative efforts between public health authorities, medical professionals, and the community are crucial to navigating through this critical period. The resilience and unity of Puerto Rico will be essential in overcoming this formidable challenge and ensuring the health and safety of its residents.
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