The secretary of the Department of Health, Lorenzo González Feliciano recognized this Monday an increase in the rate of molecular tests for COVID-19 with positive results in Puerto Rico.
An analysis performed by the The agency found that the figure has been on the rise since early and mid-June.
According to a graph provided to El Nuevo Día from June 25 to 30 there was a 1.4% increase in the positivity rate to stand at 2.4%. When compared to June 1 (0.7%), the increase was 1.7%.
" We've been looking at that number, which are called positives from tests done, and that number stayed close to 1 % The latest report given by Dr. Miguel Valencia (director of the Surveillance System) reflects that this number increased to 2.4%. When we look at science, scientists claim that this number should be kept between 2% and 5 %, but other scientists claim that it can be between 2 and 12% ", he established.
At the beginning of the public health emergency, the positivity rate was around 10% but it started to drop in late March .
The Health analysis only considers 139,224 molecular tests carried out between May 18 and June 30, but according to the agency's data, from the beginning of the emergency to June 29, on the island 194,324 molecular tests had been performed. The report does not take into account the total number of serological tests carried out, which as of June 29 totaled 165,149. to infections that had not been reported with a sample collection date of March 26 to June 19. Meanwhile, probable infections increased to 6,514 with 452, of which 119 had not been reported and had a sample date of April 13 to June 18. Given this increase, the official urged citizens to exercise "caution."
González Feliciano explained that the main concern of Health is that only 10% of positive cases could show symptoms of the disease, while 90% have the capacity to transmit the virus to people from vulnerable populations and with chronic conditions without knowing that they are infected.
Given this increase in cases, the secretary held a meeting with the agency's team of scientists and epidemiologists to discuss the data, as well as efforts to control the arrival of travelers to the island's airports and keep the centers for the elderly free of COVID-19. Subsequently, they will issue a report to the governor Wanda Vázquez Garced .
Asked if they would propose changes to the curfew or business closure to control the spread of the virus, Lorenzo González said that "if there were any changes , she (the governor) would announce it ".
It is urgent to follow precautionary measures
Although she recognized that the citizens of the island have behaved correctly in the face of the security measures imposed by the government, stated that last weekend was a sign of "lack of social responsibility" in various parts of the country.
González Feliciano said that he observed videos and images of people crowded without masks on beaches and bars, particularly in the Boquerón settlement in Cabo Rojo. A video that went viral on social networks shows dozens of people gathered in this place singing and dancing without social distancing or protection in their mouth and nose during Saturday night.
"Puerto Rico has done it to this day today, but we cannot let our guard down and this event shows irresponsibility. The person will not see how much that error costs unless that person approaches a relative and a relative tests positive for COVID- 19 ", he emphasized.
He lashed out at Johns Hopkins University
Meanwhile, the secretary attacked Johns Hopkins University that last week placed Puerto Rico with the highest rate of positive cases of COVID-19 in the United States.
According to the official, the prestigious institution did not take into account the total number of tests carried out in Puerto Rico and only reported the number of positive results.
"I believe that Johns Hopkins has been extremely irresponsible as an institution because it uses only the information from the 'dashboard' and has no communication, at least, with the Puerto Rico Department of Health to validate that information. While all the world asks us for validation, we see that Johns Hopkins only uses the 'dashboard' and with that he assumes that he will have all the information, "he said.
Contrary to other jurisdictions, the "dashboard" on the advance of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico does not list the number of tests carried out or the number of negative results or inconclusive . This information is emailed electronically, at best, weekly.
"We approached Johns Hopkins and the response we had was: 'Solve your' dashboard '" said the official about a communication he had with the academic institution. However, it did not specify whether the agency will take the recommendation into account.