After the new regulations for travelers at the airport came into effect, 38,141 passengers have arrived in Puerto Rico without the negative result of the Covid-19 molecular test, performed within 72 hours prior to their arrival at the Island.
This information was confirmed yesterday by the epidemiologist in charge of the Epidemiological Surveillance System at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Miriam Ramos Colón, in an interview with EL VOCERO .
Figures, he explained that from July 16 to 26, 47,366 passengers have completed the traveler's declaration, but only 9,225 (19.5%) have arrived with negative results. He added that 38,141 (80.5%), have arrived in Puerto Rico without the negative result, as ordered by executive order 2020-052.
In addition, from July 15 to 26, 61 of the serological tests performed at Travelers at the airport have tested positive for Covid-19, so they have undergone a molecular test and are a probable case within the Department of Health database.
This medium asked if there was an updated number of How many of those 38,141 passengers who arrived without the negative results had undergone the molecular test and had returned negative, but Ramos said that Governor Wanda Vázquez's executive order stipulates that the person must remain in quarantine once they arrive in Puerto Rico.
“But you are not required to have the test once you arrive in Puerto Rico because there is no availability of tests for everyone who arrives. If that were so, the travelers would be consuming all of the capacity that we have as a country, "he added.
He added that carrying out the test for those who do not have it is not the vision of the Secretary of Health, Lorenzo González – nor of the health professionals in general — because they urgently need to be able to have tests available for people who really need it.
“Our goal is not for people to come to Puerto Rico and take the test in Puerto Rico. The priority is that if you do not come with the test, by executive order you have to keep quarantine for 14 days, "added the official.
But how is it being ensured that the people who arrive on the Island are actually complying with the quarantine ? asked EL VOCERO . "We, through the SARA Alert platform – which is the responsibility of the surveillance system – are monitoring what are the symptoms of that traveler in order to identify promptly if that traveler develops any symptoms that could be compatible with Covid- 19 ”, Ramos added.
He warned that people who do not comply with the quarantine are exposed to fines or penalties. However, he acknowledged that it is impossible to monitor all the travelers arriving on the Island, since only 4,137 arrived on Sunday.
“That number of people continues to accumulate day by day. However, we as the Health Department have adopted an electronic platform that makes it easier for us to monitor that traveler in order to be able to quickly and effectively contain if any of them develop symptoms and be able to stop a potential chain of transmission, "he said.
He added that it should not be assumed that 100% of travelers are ill because “they would be lacking truth or science.”
However, the executive order stipulates that every passenger arriving at the country's airports on a flight from from the United States or any international destination is considered a “person with reasonable suspicion” of having been exposed to Covid-19.
“In that sense, we as DS have made an assessment and we have done the same to be able to evaluate the symptoms that many states and jurisdictions do not. They do absolutely nothing or even be able to identify if the person comes with a fever, which is the first point of contact that we have with the traveler regarding their symptoms because the thermal imaging cameras that are located at the airport are monitored, "he said.
In the screening process and in contact with the National Guard, it is identified if the person has any symptoms, it is passed in the triage area and the serological test is performed. In the case of the person being positive to the serological test, at that moment the molecular test is carried out and they are sent in quarantine with the corresponding indications.
“The screening carried out by the National Guard from day one regarding the taking of temperature and the evaluation of general symptoms continues. The difference from 15 is that tests are only performed at the airport to those people who have fever or have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, "he said.
" Before, the person could voluntarily go and the test was done. . Before this executive order. You now have to meet this requirement in order to be tested. Obviously this is due to the new implementation of the executive order and as a country we have had to prioritize who we are going to perform the tests we have available and why, "he said.