Chilean health authorities said Thursday that they expect a stabilization of coronavirus infections after the wave of infections registered in recent weeks and that saturated several hospitals in the country.
The COVID-19 infections grew after the southern summer vacation season and forced a total confinement in the capital and much of the country, in addition to restricting travel abroad.
However, Health Minister Enrique Paris said that after the peak of more than 9,000 daily cases registered last week, infections fell in recent days to a level of 7,000 per day.
“Once we have reached that peak (…) we expect a stabilization, not a reduction, a stabilization in the figures and then return to a smaller number of positive patients,” he said during the delivery of the health report.
The official also recalled that the massive and rapid vaccination plan has already reached 50% of the susceptible population with the first dose and 32.7% already have the two inoculations.
The vertiginous rise of cases forced the authorities to postpone until mid-May an elections scheduled for the previous weekend of members of an assembly that will draft a new Constitution, as well as other local authorities.
“With all these measures that we have been taking and reinforcing communication, we obviously hope to have more promising figures for the time of the elections,” he said.
The South American nation has also seen a rise in infections among people under 50 years of age, who represent 65% of those infected and 41% of those hospitalized.
“Younger people have less risk perception and also today in Chile we do have viral circulation of variants, such as the Brazilian and British, we have community circulation,” said the Undersecretary of Health, Paula Daza.
The official reported that the South African variant had also been detected in a Chilean patient who returned from the United States, but no other cases of that strain have been found.
At the Hospital del Trabajador in Santiago there has been a significant increase in patients received with the virus, generating pressure not only on the availability of beds but also on having enough trained professionals for care.
“Although last year we had an extended UPC (Critical Patients Unit) but at this time (…) we have been increasing more critical patient beds and that also led to an increase in the staffing of the ICU,” said the nurse Claudia Reyes to Reuters Television.
The health professional also said that patient stays have been lengthened and the age profile has dropped to between 30 and 50 years.
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