SANTIAGO DE CHILE (AP) – Chile reported on Friday that it reached the highest number of infections in a day since the pandemic began, registering 7,626 new cases, while hospitals are saturated by the high demand for patients with COVID-19 in their units intensive care.
During the first wave, the maximum number of infected in one day had been on June 14 with 6,398. This week the country exceeded 7,000 infected three times and daily between 40 and 50 people enter intensive care units.
“Today as a medical community we are afraid of being overwhelmed, of not having the capacity to provide care and hospitalize those who require it. If that happens, the risk of dying from COVID-19 increases, as well as that of any other serious illness such as a traffic accident, a heart attack or a stroke, “said Izkia Siches, the president of the medical union, in a video that uploaded to the internet.
The government went to the extended quarantines to try to stop the infections. On Saturday, 16 of the 19 million Chileans will be confined, the majority in Greater Santiago. Of them, 14 million began the confinement a week ago, but this has not prevented infections from continuing to increase as well as critical patients.
Another government measure to force Chileans to stay at home is the suspension of temporary mobility permits for Saturdays and Sundays. In the past two weekends the police had issued nearly four million passes. Supermarkets, fairs and small shops of food products may only sell with home delivery.
The authorities’ greatest concern is centered on the 3,516 beds of critical use that until Thursday registered an occupancy of 95%. In the next few days, it is expected to reach 3,800, although there is a shortage of health personnel trained to handle them because around 20% are on medical leave due to exhaustion and illness.
Chile has vaccinated 6.2 million people, including 80% of the elderly, but it is still too early for immunizations to be reflected in epidemiological indices. Authorities and doctors pointed out that there has been a slight decrease in the number of elderly who arrive at critical units but that a higher admission of patients under 59 years of age has also been observed.
The experts pointed out that the effects of quarantines will not be observed for another two or three weeks because the burden of those infected who are active – that is, infecting – is very high.
So far Chile has registered more than 962,000 cases and 22,587 deaths from coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Science and Systems Engineering.