As the number of confirmed cases and deaths from Covid-19 increases in Puerto Rico, there is also a growing demand for more novel coronavirus screening tests in long-term care homes for older adults.
as soon as possible they have to get to all the homes to do the tests. The serologicals to start and if it is necessary to do the molecular one because some have been positive, it must be done. That is the only way we have of prevention and to help prevent this from continuing to spread, "said the attorney for the Elderly, Carmen Sánchez Salgado, in an interview with EL VOCERO .
He indicated that performing the Covid-19 tests is an agreement that was reached through the Department of Health (DS) and the Department of the Family for more than two months, but the process has been extremely slow.
" According to the secretary of the Family, they had reached 300, but the information that I have from last week is that only 180 (homes) had been made. They are accelerating and making them more, because obviously this was a commitment that had already been made. It was not that it stopped, it was that it became extremely slow because there were protocols, "he said.
But the Family Department said that, as of July 9, tests had been carried out in 392 of the establishments licensed by the agency , between the tests managed by the 'task force' and those carried out privately.
The performance of tests was vital
Sánchez Salgado indicated that carrying out the Covid-19 tests is mandatory and that They are necessary to stop the contagion, since they have already begun to detect positive cases in these long-term care homes.
Claimed that the attorney's office made a purchase of more than $ 300,000 to help households during the pandemic. They are still handing out equipment, including a "kit" – for each resident and each employee – with face masks, gloves, "hand sanitizer" and a digital thermometer for each household. He estimated that there are 7,000 employees in these households and 17,000 elderly residents.
In Puerto Rico there are 604 confirmed cases of people 60 years of age or older, of whom 282 are women and 322 are men. While there are 2,147 probable cases, of which 1,200 are females and 947 males, according to Health data.
Under magnifying glass home in Carolina
At the moment, only cases have been reported in a home for the elderly in Carolina. Specifically, Familia reported that there are 23 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in a nursing home in this municipality, of which 18 are residents and five are employees. In addition, it was indicated that three probable cases have been identified by serological testing: one employee and two residents. Of the 18 cases, two died, according to the agency.
EL VOCERO went yesterday to the home for the elderly in Carolina, where we were first told that they could not issue comments because they did not have the authorization of Health .
Subsequently, a woman who claimed to be a home supervisor stated that "there are no comments on the matter." "In due course everything will be clarified," he stressed. At 10:50 a.m. it was observed how the tests of Covid-19 were carried out in this center, while an ambulance transferred one of the elderly.
For his part, the secretary of the Department of the Family, Orlando López Belmonte, said that the confirmed cases were admitted to a hospital institution where they have constant assistance.
“We can report that today (yesterday) tests are again being carried out on all residents of the home – according to schedule – to make sure that there are no other positive results. At the moment, no other case has been confirmed, "he said.
He assured that there is constant monitoring and that if another positive case arises, he will be transferred immediately to the hospital. He added that the investigation is ongoing, while they continue to attend the home as needed.
“The establishment's staff has kept the relatives of the residents informed, who are free to decide what they understand to be appropriate, as they are older adults privately placed. As for those who are in the custody of the State, we have designated a permanent staff to assist them, "he said.