More restrictive measures if the rise in infections impacts ICUs and mortality

More restrictive measures if the rise in infections impacts ICUs and mortality

File photo of nurses treating a covid patient in a critical care unit. / EFE

The new ómicron sublineages already cause 40% of the cases in the Canary Islands, twice that in a week. Gran Canaria has the incidence at high risk and Health expects that Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote will follow

Theresa Artiles

TERESA ARTILES The Gran Canarian palms

The seventh wave of the covid pandemic is intensifying in the Canary Islands and throughout the country and if the increase in infections has a strong impact on the occupation of ICUs and the mortality rate
A future scenario with more restrictive measures is not ruled out.

“This will be decisive, we work with constant meetings in the Public Health Commission where we analyze the data to take unified measures, and based on the behavior of these indicators, if there is a greater risk due to the activities of the summer, what restrictive measures will be assessed if it were the case would have to be taken for
continue to protect the most vulnerable populationwhich is the objective to be able to combine and maintain economic and social activity," says the Director General of Public Health of the Canary Islands, José Juan Alemán.

Gran Canaria has just entered high riskdue to the incidence of infections in people over 60 years of age and Health expects that Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote will soon be in this situation.

“We are in an ascending situation of the incidence, with a high transmission of the virus, and
it is expected to continue to increase for the normalization of all economic and social activity and the penetration of the new sublineages of the ómicron, BA.4 and BA.5”, explains the Canarian health official.


“We are in an ascending situation of the incidence, with a high transmission of the virus, and it is foreseeable that it will continue to increase”

In fact, in the Canary Islands
andThese subvariants already cause 40% of coronavirus infectionsaccording to preliminary data from the sequencing of samples from last week that will be reflected in the next report from the Ministry of Health.

The figure is practically doubling every week. and the Ministry qualifies as a high risk the fact that these subvariants are the dominant ones, because it entails a higher rate of transmission and an increase in cases, ”adds Alemán.

The BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages have a greater ability to circumvent the immunity provided by both vaccines and natural infection, although their expansion has not translated, for the time being, into an increase in hospitalizations in critical care and emergency units. deaths, although of admissions in conventional beds. In fact,
Gran Canaria already has this indicator at medium risk.

According to Alemán, the significant increase in infections in people over 60 years of age, the only population that is monitored in this flu phase of the pandemic, is not having an impact on hospital pressure and deaths.
“due to the effect of the vaccines and that these variants are not so harmful and aggressive”.

Surveillance of new variants

However, the pandemic is still with us and there are no certainties about its behavior and future scenarios. In addition to controlling infections in the most vulnerable population and its impact on the health system, the Director General of Public Health explains that
surveillance of the penetration of new variants has been reinforcedwith more sequencing of virus samples.

«It is a threat that we have, that there are variants, because we continue in a scenario of uncertainty; I do not want to repeat myself but depending on the behavior of the pandemic and its impact on ICU admissions and deaths
we can start talking about more restrictive measuresthat we hope they do not arrive, but the measures must always be proportional to the risk, ”summarizes the head of Public Health of the archipelago.

Alemán adds that, for the time being, the risk brought by the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron sublineages, which will end up being dominant, has not forced the introduction of restrictions and healthcare pressure continues in a situation of certain “unstable stability”. "Everything must be said with caution, because with this pandemic we continue to move in a field of uncertainty," he concludes.

"The pandemic is not controlled and the vaccine is the most effective tool"

The covid pandemic has left restrictions behind and currently only some remain in force, such as the obligation to wear a mask in health and social health centers. Most of the measures have become only recommendations. "We have to be aware that we are in a pandemic situation that is not controlled, although now it is a less serious situation than in other waves, but there are measures to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable people that we must continue to comply with," he says. the director of Public Health of the Health Council of the Canarian Government, José Juan Alemán.

The health leader highlights vaccination as the "most important tool" among all the measures to combat the pandemic and that there are no serious cases of covid. Then, the use of masks indoors, "especially in environments with vulnerable people." Ventilation, interpersonal distance when possible, and hand hygiene complete the package of actions to protect ourselves and those who are most at risk of suffering the most serious face of the disease.

Vaccination continues to be the most important tool to fight covid, but vaccination coverage, especially with regard to the third dose or to the child population, has stagnated. "It is a situation that is not exclusive to the Canary Islands and not to Spain, and is the result of the normalization of life." says the Director General of Public Health.

“People have lost their fear, the behavior of the disease is different and pandemic fatigue has also had a significant effect on vaccination coverage, but we have to continue insisting that the virus is still among us and that the vaccines continue to work; in the future there will be other more effective ones but the ones we have continue to be as well and save many lives”, concludes Alemán.

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