January 22, 2021

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With “significant differences” on economic openness | government

The medical and economic groups have “significant differences” in terms of the recommendations for the next executive order, which should come into effect on October 17, mainly due to the proposal to increase the percentage of occupancy in restaurants and businesses, revealed today the president of the College of Surgeons, Víctor Ramos.

Currently, the occupancy level is 25%, but the economic sector seeks to increase it to 60%, Ramos said to press questions.

“We have significant differences between the economic group and the medical group in terms of what opening or not opening should be in this phase. The governor (Wanda Vázquez Garced) will have the recommendations of the medical groups and the recommendations of the economic groups. Obviously they (the economic group) are calling for a significant opening. We believe that it should not be so. The differences are significant between one position and the other, “he said.

Ramos’ statements emerged as he left a meeting at the Department of Health (DS) in San Juan, where recommendations for the next order were being discussed. There, when attending the press, he broke down which are the most important differences that economic and medical groups have.

“Our recommendation is that it stay the same to a great extent, but the specific (recommendations) will be sent to the governor. We always have the deference that the recommendations are given to the governor, but certainly there are significant differences between the medical and economic groups, “he added.

To questions from a journalist about the approach of the economic sector that the part of economic opening can be made more flexible based on the level of spread of Covid-19 on the island, Ramos mentioned: “They are not in the hospital every day. We are at 72% intensive occupancy. There are hospitals that today suspended elective surgeries that needed intensive because they don’t have enough space ”.

“Covid-19 is not the only thing that exists. Dengue cases are increasing dramatically in Puerto Rico, that there will not be Health now, there will be in two or three weeks as soon as the reports arrive, but one that is in the hospital every day, basically they are admitted Dengue and Covid-19 in hospitals, that there was not much dengue since (Hurricane) Maria. So it is not that it is only Covid-19 ”, he added.

Ramos was emphatic in pointing out that the main proposal of the economic sector is to increase the percentage of occupancy “dramatically”, that is, by 60%. “They are asking to open from 4:00 am to 11:00 pm and 60% (occupancy). We are opposed to that. The recommendation of the medical group is going to be very different, mainly in the percentage of occupancy, “he said.

Quest tests

However, the current executive order had been extended under the premise that they had to evaluate the results of the reliability of the results of the Covid-19 detection tests issued by the Quest Puerto Rico laboratory. At the end of September, Salud reported that it had ordered the stoppage of the tests carried out by this laboratory.

“Certainly they confirmed that there were positives that were negatives and negatives that were positive, but the reality, as of September 25, is no longer testing Quest. The data we have is not Quest based, so it is reliable data. So it is an ‘issue’ for the statistics, but not an ‘issue’ for the determinations, “said Ramos, who indicated, however, that not all the results of the tests carried out by Quest have been evaluated.

They ask for greater openness

Meanwhile, the president of the Retail Trade Association, Iván Báez, confirmed that they are requesting that the current executive order be extended for four additional weeks and that the operating hours of the establishments be from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. of the night.

“Basically what we are recommending is that the opening period be extended for four additional weeks and considering that there is also a high season to avoid crowds, because we also want to extend the operating hours at least one hour to be able to have less traffic,” he said. Baez.

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