In the past 10 days, Centro Médico has seen a substantial increase in the number of patients with Covid-19 that they see on a daily basis. However, officials of the hospital institution located in Río Piedras emphasize that it is not crowded and that they have the necessary capacity to continue admitting people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
This week will be critical to determine if the hospitals are going to be full of patients with Covid-19 or people with chronic conditions that have been unbalanced since March, when the pandemic crisis began. This is what prominent doctors warned about the rise in cases and hospitalizations for this virus.
“We are currently working with an acceptable volume, but it has increased. We had about 35 to 40 days that we did not receive a single patient. In the last 10 days, because the cases have increased and we are receiving three, four, five cases a day —that is a substantial increase— but in general terms, our system can handle that volume of cases without any problem, "said Dr. Israel. Ayala, medical director of the Administration of Medical Services (ASEM), the operational arm of the Medical Center.
In an interview with EL VOCERO Ayala said that the medical class is always concerned about having the capacity to attend to patients when they require the service. “Of course, the experience of the world in this pandemic has told us that systems as solid as Italy and Spain —even that of the United States— have been precarious when the volume of patients goes beyond the capacity to manage the institutions, "said the doctor.
He added that" at the moment we are not in that situation. I understand that the hospitals, the health system of Puerto Rico —both the public and the private— still have the capacity to manage the patients who are arriving. "
Ayala took the opportunity to call on the citizens to limit social activities, to avoid places where there are many people and to use a mask.
In this sense, the executive director of ASEM, Jorge Matta González, stressed that all citizens must take the necessary measures to prevent contagion with Covid-19, since it is not a matter only for the government, private or public hospitals.
"The call is the simplest of all: if we wash our hands, if we take the appropriate social distance, if we use the masks, if each one of us does that, it is definitely the best way to prevent this from increasing and that in two or three weeks the hospitals are saturated. The time is now, "said the official.
Matta said that ASEM began with preparations related to Covid-19 last February with personnel training, as well as verification of the capacity in terms of rooms and areas to receive patients.
The Medical Center Adult University Hospital has 16 negative pressure rooms to serve Covid-19 patients. In addition, there are two complete floors and each one has 30 rooms of negative pressure, so that another 60 patients can be cared for.
At the moment, there is still the capacity to receive patients within the 16 rooms of negative pressure, since there are only six people with Covid-19, of whom five are already admitted to the University Hospital and one is in ASEM.
“That goes up and down every day, but more or less those have been the numbers that we have had so far. At the emergency room level, because we have our six negative pressure rooms inside the emergency room, "said Matta.
In addition, acclimatized tents were added outside the emergency room to attend to patients. of coronavirus. Precisely, last Friday another tent was added since if the isolation rooms of the emergency room were full, they would place the patients there “momentarily” in what was decided if they were admitted or not. That same day, patients arrived who were accepted, but they had not been told that they had Covid-19.
“Receiving a patient like this requires protocols, and when the patient came here to the emergency room, at that time we were working our isolation rooms — moving patients and admitting patients — and he had to wait awhile as we finished that process. We basically attribute this to a logistics situation, "said the executive director of ASEM.
They deny that there is saturation
Until yesterday, Puerto Rico had 336 people hospitalized by Covid-19, of the of which 31 were in intensive care units and 20 connected to a ventilator. But the executive president of the Hospital Association, Jaime Plá, recalled that on the Island there are 2,800 adult beds, 200 intensive care beds and 800 ventilators available.
“So we have a fairly large space to attend to patients without let him fall into a crisis. We must remember that patients enter the hospital, but at some point we discharge them and leave an additional empty bed to then attend to other patients, "said Plá.