Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba

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Dr. Francisco Duran, National Director for Epidemiology at the Cuban Health Ministry

Tamara Caridad Mesa González 9 abril, 2020

Good morning to you and to all those who tune in to watch and listen to the press briefing every morning.

Summarizing the current international situation, it is very complex. National and international media are constantly reporting new information, data about the pandemic.  As I always say, every new data should be received with certain caution, since the official data, the official information is the one released by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

The information we had up until 12:00 am, last night, is as follows:

there is presence of COVID-19 in 180 countries,

practically half a million people around the world have tested positive for the disease,

to have an idea, a total of 74 902 confirmed cases were reported in just one day

7 412 have also died in just one day from the disease around the world, bringing the total number of deaths to 81 478, which represents a fatality rate of 5.85%, slightly above Cuba’s mortality rate

Of the total of 180 nations, where there is presence of the disease, 179 report community transmission, practically all nations. It is not just that they have confirmed cases of Covid-19, but they have community transmission of the disease

Specifically, in our region of the Americas there are a total of 450 515 confirmed cases, representing 32.8% of the total cases reported worldwide, including the regrettable figure of 14 862 deaths, representing a fatality rate of 3.25%

In the case of Cuba, yesterday 94 travelers arrived in the country, 72 Cubans residing abroad and 22 other people –20 of them are crew members and two foreign residents here.

Also yesterday, 83 people left the country, 66 foreigners, 6 Cuban residents abroad and 11 Cubans, sent on a mission abroad

There are currently 12 698 people in Cuba, including 5 633 foreigners and 7 065 Cuban residents abroad

Regarding air traffic operations, we welcomed 3 flights –all at the Jose Marti International airport, bringing into 14 passengers from Angola and 58 from Venezuela. Naturally, there were no flights departing from our country yesterday

There are currently 988 foreigners in rental homes.  As you can, see the figure is constantly diminishing. The larger numbers are reported in the Havana municipalities of Plaza de la Revolución, Playa and Centro Habana, and in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.

In Cuba, 1 860 people remain hospitalized, 242 are under surveillance, 1 148 are suspected cases of Covid-19. These are people running high epidemiological risk, who are showing symptoms of the disease and there are also 470 confirmed cases of Covid-19

Additionally, 9 087 people are under surveillance in primary health care.

Yesterday, for the 5th consecutive day, we analyzed more than 1 000 samples, seeking the presence of the virus Sars-Cov2. A total of 1 315 samples were studied. The largest number of samples, 694, were analyzed at the lab of the Tropical Medicine Institute, followed by Santiago de Cuba with 186, Havana with 185, Villa Clara with 141 and 107 samples that were analyzed in the lab of the National Civil Defense. Of those 107 samples, 56 tested positive.

Summarizing, the country registers a total of 10 725 samples analyzed, 515 of which tested positive, representing an incidence rate of 4.6% per every one hundred thousand inhabitants

Of the 58 new confirmed cases reported yesterday, 56 are Cuban and 2 foreigners -an Italian man and a Panamanian woman

Of the 56 Cubans, in 7 cases the source of the virus has been traced out of the country ( 4 in the United States, 2 in Haiti and 1 in Spain); 35 were contacts of confirmed cases, 9 were contacts of travelers coming from abroad and in the case of the 5 other confirmed cases, we’re still trying to trace the source of the virus.

I should explain here, because as I always say, every Cuban is both, a doctor and a baseball player.  People frequently ask what we mean when we say that ‘we are tracing the source of the virus’. I they also ask about the result of that process.

Of the 515 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in our country, 454 are stable, Unfortunately, we have to report 3 new deaths, bringing the total number to 15, representing a fatality rate of 2.9 %. Two patients were evacuated and 28 recovered and were discharged from hospital. We have 8 patients in critical condition and 8 in serious condition.

Regarding the 8 patients in critical condition, as we have reportedly said in previous days, we should say that they belong to different age groups. The largest figure of patients in critical condition are between 60 and 69 years of age, with 4 confirmed cases in this age group. We also have one patient in the age group between 40 and 49, another in the age group between 50 and 59, one in the age group between 80 and 89 and a patient in the age group 90 and over. This way, we can say that the highest incidence of the disease corresponds to people in the age group 60 and over.

Of the total number of patients in critical condition, 2 are hospitalized at the Manuel Fajardo hospital in Villa Clara, 3 are in the Luis Diaz Soto Hospital here in Havana, one is hospitalized in the Tropical Medicine Institute (IPK) and one in the Salvador Allende hospital also here in Havana and one in the Mario Muñoz hospital in Matanzas province for a total of eight patients in critical condition.

Regarding the province they are from: two are from Villa Clara, 5 are from Havana and one is from Matanzas.

Regarding those patients’ pre-existing health conditions, we can say that two suffer from ischemic cardiopathy, 5 have high-blood pressure, one suffers from neuropathy, one is an active smoker (what we call an inveterate smoker), another one is obese, two have diabetes, one suffers from suprarenal insufficiency and another one suffers from chronic renal failure.

As we’ve said, these underlying health conditions could seriously complicate the evolution of patients of Covid-19 disease, sometimes leading to the patients’ death.

Regarding the patients reported in serious condition: there is the nurse who returned from Venezuela. She was in critical condition for several days, and now she is reported in serious condition, remains hospitalized in Villa Clara. There is also a male patient, 70, who returned from Spain. He has entered his 10th day in the intensive care unit in the Luis Diaz Soto hospital. Among the patients in serious condition, there is also a male Havana resident, 66. He suffers from high-blood pressure. He had contact with a traveler coming from Venezuela. This patient has entered his fifth day in the intensive care unit also at the Luis Diaz Soto hospital. This patient shows modest clinical improvement, but he is reported in serious condition.

We also have a female Cuban patient, 52, from Camaguey province. She remains hospitalized in Camaguey. This patient shows certain symptoms for which she is being reported in serious condition.

There is also a Cuban male patient, 83, who resides in Spain. This is his ninth day of hospitalization in the intensive care unit at the Pedro Kouri Institute. This patient shows some clinical improvements, limited improvements, and so he is still reported in serious condition.

There is also a female patient, 57, from Banes, Holguin. She made contact with a traveler coming from the United States. This is her first day of hospitalization in an intensive care unit in Holguin, and she is reported as being in serious condition.

And we have a female patient, 90, who was hospitalized on April 4th. She showed symptoms of the disease and has since been reported in serious condition.

Another female patient, 53, who resides in Havana. She suffers from high-blood pressure. She remains hospitalized in serious condition in the intensive care unit of the Salvador Allende hospital.

These are all the patients reported in serious condition today. Some of them were previously reported in critical condition and are now in serious condition.

A patient in Pinar del Rio has recovered and was discharged from hospital today. The patient progressed favorably and was discharged from hospital after the test performed was negative for Covid-19.

I want to reiterate this, patients are discharged from hospital after the PCR test, conducted in real time, comes out negative for Covid-19. After being discharged from hospital, these patients remain in total isolation for another 14 days in their homes, where they are under strict surveillance by their family doctor and after that period, they again undergo the PCR test in real time for confirmation.

As a said at the beginning, a female patient, 49, a young Cuban, has died. A resident of Santi Spiritus province, he returned from the Dominican Republic in March. He was hospitalized in Villa Clara, where he was reported in critical condition and kept in the intensive care unit there for several days. Unfortunately, he died yesterday.

Another female patient, 80, from Havana, appears to have had contact with some one coming from abroad. She suffered from a respiratory stroke and died in the Salvador Allende hospital.

The third death we report today corresponds to a Cuban patient, 75, a resident of Banes in Holguin. She suffered from diabetes, ischemic cardiopathy. She was hospitalized in Banes. She developed serious complication, and finally died yesterday of respiratory distress.

About these last two cases of diseased patients, regardless of the positive PCR tests, are being studied by a team of experienced scientists to identify the true causes of death. This is a common practice; whose aim is to reduce to the minimum possible the causes leading to patients’ death.

Summarizing, we could say that of the total of new confirmed cases: 3 are from Artemisa province (San Antonio de los Baños, Bahia Honda and Guira de Melena –one each);

32 are from Havana (7 from Playa municipality, 4 from Habana del Este, 4 from Centro Habana, 3 are from San Miguel del Padrón, 3 are from Diez de Octubre, 2 from La Lisa, 2 from Cotorro, 2 from Boyeros, Cerro, Plaza de la Revolucion, Arroyo Naranjo, Marianao and Regla with one each)

4 are from Matanzas province  -2 from Matanzas municipality and 2 from Cárdenas

3 are from Villa Clara –2 of Camajuani municipality and 1 from Cifuentes

1 from Cabaiguan municipality in Santi Spiritus province

6 from Ciego de Avila – 3 from Majagua municipality, 2 from Moron and 1 from Florencia

7 from Holguin province – 3 from Holguin municipality, Baguanos, Gibara, Moa and Banes with 1 each

2 from the special municipality of the Isle of Youth

As we have said on previous occasions, as our health minister said yesterday, all Cuban provinces have reported confirmed cases of Covid-19. Some report higher incidence of the disease like Havana, Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila and Holguin. As our minister of health said yesterday in those territories actions are being strengthened. We have reported clusters of cases in certain areas, leading to the adoption of specific, localized actions to contain the spread.

Today is a beautiful, sunny day, but unfortunately, we still see large numbers of people in the streets. We won’t give up reiterating what our president has rightly said, that our best vaccine right now against the disease is to stay at home, practice social distancing, and in the case, we need to go out for any indispensable activity, to protect ourselves and avoid close contact with other people.

Finally, I would like to refer to two hospitalized female patients – one is under one-year-old and the other one is under one month old. They are both progressing favorably, are stable  and have not developed any complications.

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