Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba

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

Tamara Caridad Mesa González 11 abril, 2020

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

Regarding the international situation with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, a total of 182 nations have presence of the disease, with yesterday’s addition of Yemen to the list of countries reporting confirmed cases.

More than half a million cases have been confirmed worldwide — 1 563 657. I want to emphasize this, in just one day, there were 87 000 more cases. There are reports also of 95 044 deaths, 7 228 more in just one day, representing a mortality rate of 6.1% –above yesterday’s figure.

Just like yesterday, 179 countries report community transmission, representing 99.4%.

In the region of the Americas, there are a total of 537 678 confirmed cases, representing 34.4% of the confirmed cases reported worldwide. There were also 2 227 more deaths in just one day, bringing the total number to 19 309. This way, the mortality rate in the region of the Americas is 3.6% –bellow the global average.

Regarding Cuba, as you know, the numbers of travelers arriving in or departing from the country continue decreasing.

Yesterday, we welcomed a total of 29 travelers —5 residents here, family members of Cuban professionals offering their services abroad– and 24 foreigners, crew members of aircrafts landing here for the necessary resupply operations.  We welcomed two flights from Togo and Qatar.

A total of 229 travelers left our country yesterday, 203 of them departed for Argentina. A total of 26 Cuban residents also left yesterday, members of a flight crew.

There are currently 12 495 people in Cuba — 5 430 of them foreigners and 7 065 Cubans, who reside abroad. The number of foreigners in rental homes has also decreased to 977. Eastern Santiago de Cuba now reports the highest figure, followed by the Havana municipalities of Plaza de la Revolución, Centro Habana and Playa.

There are currently 2 415 people hospitalized, 451 under surveillance, 1 439 suspected cases. These are people who run certain epidemiological risk and are showing symptoms of the disease. We also have, up to this moment, 525 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

There is also another group of people, who are under surveillance. These are people, who are contacts, but not close contacts of confirmed cases, people who run a certain risk, but show no symptoms of the disease. They, a total of 7 128 people, are kept under surveillance in primary health care with restriction of movement.

Yesterday, just as we’ve been doing now for some days, more than 1 000 samples were studied in just one day. A total of 1 139 were analyzed, seeking the presence of the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease. Of the total, 480 were analyzed at the Tropical Medicine Institute, 210 in Villa Clara, 187 in Havana, 169 in the Laboratory of the National Civil Defense Council and 93 in Santiago de Cuba. Of the total, 56 tested positive for Covid-19, representing 4.9%.

Cuba accumulates a total of 13 162 samples tested, 620 of which turned out positive.

As we’ve said before, we will continue with this rate of tests conducted in a day. We are conducting the PCR tests in real time and there is also a number of rapid tests that we’ve been conducting for some days now. The staff in our labs are working 24/7. The aim is to identify the largest possible number of people, who are infected with the virus and are walking around, infecting other people.

Of the 56 new confirmed cases, 55 are Cuban nationals and one foreigner –a Bolivian woman.

Of the 55 Cubans, 46 were contacts of previously confirmed cases, 7 were contact of travelers coming from abroad and in two cases, we’re tracing the source of the virus.

This is a practice, we’ve been developing for some days now. This is why our country entered the stage of localized community transmission. It is not just people who were close contacts of previously confirmed cases, but we have other cases that are now emerging.

This is important, 31 of the 56 new confirmed cases were asymptomatic. They looked healthy, showing no symptoms, representing 55.3%. They were identified precisely thanks to the active screening campaign we are developing, tracing contacts of previously confirmed cases. I repeat, these are people who were showing no symptoms of the disease but tested positive.

Of the total of 620 confirmed cases so far in Cuba, 513 are progressing favorably and are stable. Unfortunately, we have to report the death of another patient yesterday, bringing the total number to 16 patients death, representing 2.6%.

As we reported, two patients have been evacuated back to their countries, and a total of 77 have recovered, 26 more over the past 24 hour.

As I explained yesterday, from now on, we will report larger numbers of recovered patients because many patients are either completing or about to complete the required 14 days of hospitalization and treatment.

I reiterate, 77 patients have recovered, 26 in just one day. I wouldn’t say that health workers are satisfied with this result, because unfortunately some patients have died, but this further demonstrates that the protocols that we’re using are yielding positive results.

We have 5 patients in critical condition and 7 in serious condition.

I would like to first, refer to the provinces, where the new confirmed cases are from. This is a common concern expressed by many people. Of the 56 new confirmed cases, 2 are from the Mayabeque province, one from Melena del Sur and the other one from Madruga; 19 are from Havana –the province with the largest number of confirmed cases and also the most densely populated. The Havana municipalities of Habana Vieja, Marianao and Boyeros with 3 each; Cotorro, San Miguel del Padrón, La Lisa and Plaza de la Revolución with one each; Centro Habana, Diez de Octubre and Cerro with two confirmed cases each. Villa Clara province, which also has a high incidence, has 11 new confirmed cases, 7 from the municipality of Santa Clara, 3 from Camajuani and one from Cifuentes; in Sancti Spiritus, another province where some measures have been adopted because it has a high incidence rate, there are 19 new confirmed cases, 10 from Taguasco, 8 from Camaguey municipality and one from Trinidad. There is also one new confirmed case in Ciego de Avila province, in the Venezuela municipality, where as we’ve said before, there was an incident of limited, localized community transmission. There are also 3 new confirmed cases in Camaguey province and one in La Tunas.

Now, regarding the patients in critical and serious condition, let me first explain the difference between both terms. Serious condition refers to the patient’s clinical status, while critical is when patients develop other complications, life-threatening complications. When I raised this issue with intensive care doctors, they gave me a quick answer. They said to me that critical is when they are forced to transfer the patient to an intensive care unit. We have to say here that we keep many patients, who are in serious condition, in intensive care units because of conditions there. Certainly, a patient in critical condition is that, who develops other complications that threaten his/her life. We have patients, who’ve been in critical condition, and who have progressed favorably and have recovered. That’s what these medical terms mean.

Of the 5 patients in critical condition, one is in the age group between 50 and 59, 3 are in the 60 to 69 age group and one is in the age group between 80 and 89. Again, most patients in critical condition are over 60.

Of the 5 patients in critical condition, 4 are from Havana and one is from Matanzas province. One is hospitalized at the Luis Diaz Soto hospital, another is at the Tropical Medicine Institute, two more at the Salvador Allende hospital and the other one is in the military hospital of Matanzas province. Regarding the pre-existing health conditions of these patients: 3 suffer from hypertension, 2 with diabetes, 1 suffers from suprarenal insufficiency, one has immunodeficiency, one suffers from chronic pulmonary obstructive disease and another one suffers from chronic kidney failure.

All these are factors, hampering the favorable progress of these patients.

We have 7 patients in serious condition. Two are in the age group 50 to 59, 3 are between the ages of 60 to 69 and two are 80 and over. As you can see, most patients in serious condition are 50 and over, even 60 and over. One of them is at the Manuel ‘Piti’ Fajardo hospital in Villa Clara, one at the Luis Diaz Soto hospital here in Havana, two at the Tropical Medicine Institute and two more at the Salvador Allende hospital and one in the hospital of the special municipality of the Isle of Youth. The patient in the Isle of Youth was a contact of a previously confirmed case, who died. One of the patients in serious condition is from Villa Clara, 5 are from Havana and the other one is from the Isle of Youth.

2 suffer from ischemic cardiomyopathy, 3 have high blood pressure, one has diabetes and another one has a malign tumor.

Unfortunately, we have a new death to report, a female patient, 91, from Santa Clara, Villa Clara province. She was a contact of a traveler from the United States. This patient was kept in an intensive care unit for six days. We’ve been reporting about her case this past several days. She suffered from ischemic cardiomyopathy, chronic kidney failure.

I repeat, unfortunately she died yesterday afternoon. As you can see, those pre-existing conditions influenced this sad outcome, as well as her age, which was another risk factor.

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