Medellin Adds 1,000 Epidemiological Trackers; Debuts Online Covid-19 Database, Cracks-Down on Irresponsible Partying
Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero announced July 2 that the city has just added 1,000 more epidemiological trackers to help the city stem the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Simultaneously, Medellin debuted an on-line database and mapping program (see: https://www.medellin.gov.co/irj/portal/medellin?NavigationTarget=navurl://48b007fc8d7912ef960824275ea1cb7a ) so that citizens can see exactly where Covid-19 cases are appearing daily, along with total numbers of active cases, recoveries, hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) capacity and continuing progress in adding more hospitalization capacity.
“We are doubling the number of people in the ICU every twelve days,” Mayor Quintero warned. “The graph [showing the rise in cases] will continue to rise because we are seeing the strongest outbreaks and our responsibility is to make [control] decisions and do them on time,” he added.
Currently the city has 507 ICUs available — and on July 2, the national government donated another 50 Covid-19 ventilators to the hospital network here. In addition, the Avenida 80 clinic — dedicated specifically to future Covid-19 patient care — is now ready to start operating “when required,” he said.
Mayor Quintero also announced that he expects Colombia’s medical-device regulatory agency Invima to endorse clinical tests of the relatively low-cost Covid-19 ventilators developed in the “InnspiraMED” initiative by the University of Antioquia, the School of Engineering of Antioquia (EIA University) and Sampedro Medical Industries.
On a related front, Medellin will crack-down on irresponsible drinking-and-socializing behaviors that usually peak during weekends and holidays, he said.
The crackdown – which will continue until the Covid-19 epidemic eventually declines – includes a ban weekend/holiday sales of liquor, as well as police break-ups of group parties that usually ignore social distancing and face-mask mandates.
These measures are “motivated by more than 1,800 interventions to parties that the police carried out during the last [Father’s-Day weekend] holiday by order of the municipal administration, and taking into account that currently Medellín has 1,276 active [Covid-19] cases, with 890 recoveries, 102 hospitalized patients and 15 fatalities,” according to the Mayor’s Office.
Meanwhile, ICU occupancy at city hospitals has reached 19.7% precisely because of rising Covid-19 cases – about half of which includes patients from other departments outside Antioquia.
“Medellín has become a world example thanks to the use of cutting-edge [Covid-19 tracking and control] technology, the discipline of citizens and ability to anticipate the decisions of other authorities,” according to the Mayor’s Office.
“So far, we have gained time and made progress in economic recovery, while increasing hospital capacity, enabling the ‘Avenida 80’ clinic, continuing the development of [locally made, relatively low-cost] ventilators, and equipping the city with more tests.”
Nevertheless, “we cannot claim victory,” Mayor Quintero added. “We took the virus very seriously at first when others believed it was a simple flu, and now that a more difficult stage is coming, we will not let our guard down,” he said.
Unless citizens and businesses strictly follow biosafety protocols, then “this could lead to crises like those of other cities in the country. It cannot be overlooked that Colombia has already exceeded 100,000 cases of coronavirus,” Quintero said.
“Thanks to the follow-up that we do for each of the cases, we have detected that most of the people who are in an ICU today did not take care of themselves, did not recognize the symptoms, never called the ‘123’ [emergency hot-line] and allowed the disease to worsen,” he added.
From now on, all citizens should contact the “123” hotline even if they have only mild symptoms, or if they have contacted their “EPS” health-care/insurance network to report any symptoms, Quintero added.