October 26, 2020

About twenty professionals trace complex cases of Covid in the Canary Islands – La Provincia


When a complex case of coronavirus , such as that of a foreigner who visits the Islands or a positive resident who returns to the Archipelago after spending several days on the Peninsula, it is necessary to do a very extensive and exhaustive case study that requires a staff dedicated solely to that task. It is for this reason that the Archipelago has created a Tracking Unit, within the Public Health area, made up of 8 doctors and 14 nurses, which is precisely in charge of studying cases of coronavirus that Primary Care health workers cannot cover.

The rest of the tracking team Primary care For its part, it continues to monitor local cases. On the other hand, a liaison nursing team has been created in health centers to communicate with socio-health centers. And it is, in this way, one of the measures that the Ministry of Health has taken so far to deal with the more than possible second outbreak of coronavirus in the community. A new epidemic wave that, as Miguel Ángel Ponce, spokesman for the autonomous PP and pulmonologist, warned in the Parliament of the Canary Islands, “could arrive in the summer.”

These numbers, given the few daily cases that are being verified in the Canary Islands, are sufficient to meet the demands of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC). According to the agency, case tracking – when 10 positives are reported a day – should have between three and seven members working full time to be able to interview those 10 cases and make an initial call to their contacts. To these workers, they must support another ten or twenty that must call daily to close contacts for the next 10 days. A task that, in the Canary Islands, remains in the hands of Primary Care.

Two key reinforcements

In parliamentary seat, the recently elected to perform the functions of Health Minister, Blas Trujillo, decided to appear of his own accord to explain the measures that the Canary Islands are taking during the new normal. In his interventions, Trujillo insisted that the situation in the Archipelago can be considered controlled but that in his area they are aware that “the danger exists”. For this reason, the autonomous community will strengthen its health policies in two aspects: the strengthening of Public Health and the improvement of assistance programs.

The first must pivot under the premise of exercising early detection, facilitating the follow-up, control, tracking and isolation of cases. For this, the Canary Islands has required both to strengthen its tracking staff and its diagnostic capacity. “We have strengthened the diagnostic capacity of Primary Care and all hospitals now have robots that perform PCR on the fly,” said Trujillo. “The result is that we have done 156,905 PCR since the pandemic began, “the councilor insisted. Control of the pandemic in the Canary Islands, according to the counselor, is limited to the low death rate in the Islands -the lowest in Spain- and the low number of active cases (64 yesterday) “We have 150 suspected cases a day and 95% test negative,” Trujillo insisted.

Also, of the total number of isolated patients in the Islands, 57% are migrants who have formed a “controlled focus”. In this sense, the counselor admitted that the facilities in which these people are being quarantined “are not the most appropriate.” For this reason, and “regardless of whether it is not the responsibility of the autonomous administration”, Trujillo reported that his area and the Government Delegation in the Canary Islands are preparing a document establishing the minimum health and hygiene measures necessary to keep migrants in good condition and control outbreaks. Regarding the proposals of the rest of the parliamentary groups, which expressed their concern about the possibility that the Canary Islands would soon face another outbreak, the counselor showed his confidence in the early detection network established in the Archipelago as well as in the contingency plans.

In this sense, the head of the Health in the Canary Islands hinted at the Covid Radar tracking mobile app implemented by the Ministry of Health and that he has started his pilot tests in La Gomera. “Thanks to that system we are very well placed in the state as a whole,” Trujillo insisted. In addition, “we have enough material and a supply of medicines to face three months of an outbreak with a large dimension,” said Trujillo, who insisted that there is also a sufficient reserve of beds to alleviate a second wave. However, he warned that “if it gets out of hand, it can lead to a more complicated situation.” For this reason, he claimed not to be “satisfied”. “We are in continuous contact with suppliers to be able to respond to an excessive peak in demand for material,” said the counselor, who stressed that the possibilities lie in the air route – which is more expensive – and the sea route – which would take longer to arrive.

Mask control

At this point, the counselor warned that “population behavior is essential“in the control of the epidemic. It did so after several parliamentary spokesmen, including Vidina Espino (Cs) and Miguel Ángel Ponce (PP), highlighted the importance of the use of the mask among the population.” The reports of the European ECDC They guarantee that the rate of virus contagiousness (R0) can remain below 1 if 80% of the population wears masks, “said Ponce, who, like Espino, demanded that accessibility be guaranteed to the population that enters less than 18,000 euros a year to this resource, thus, in addition, it would take advantage of a Proposition No of Law (PNL) that urges the Government of the Canary Islands to evaluate the free distribution of masks among vulnerable groups.

But without a doubt, what most worries and occupies both parliamentarians and the Minister of Health are the “insufficient” monitoring protocols for visitors arriving in the Canary Islands by air or sea. “We have stopped proposing the test at source, but we will continue to argue that it needs to be improved,” said Blas Trujillo. In fact, the idea of ​​the Canary Islands is to launch a pilot test in which rapid tests are carried out selectively on some passengers “according to their origins”.

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