Health officials confirmed that a patient who died in Durango on Thursday tested positive for Covid-19, making him the second person in Mexico to die of the disease.
The man was 74 years old and suffered from hypertension.
“Yesterday we mentioned a suspicious death in the state of Durango. The result was confirmed as [Covid-19],” Health Ministry epidemiologist José Luis Alomía told a press conference on Friday.
He said that at that moment there were 203 confirmed cases and 606 suspected cases of Covid-19 in the country. Of the hospitalized patients, 2% are in critical condition.
Contact tracing on the patients led to the identification of 66 people with symptoms, of whom 27 tested positive for the coronavirus. They have all been isolated and are undergoing treatment.Interactive coronavirus map indicates confirmed cases, state by state.
The total of confirmed cases is up from 164 as of Thursday evening.
As for how long Mexico can expect to be affected by the coronavirus, officials from the Health Ministry gave conflicting forecasts on Friday.
Alomía told the press conference that cases would peak in April or May. He said that the country is currently 22 days into Phase 1 of the virus’s cycle, which could last four weeks in total.
Phase 2, in which the highest number of cases is expected, will last about three weeks, he said, but added that it all depends on how people behave during the crisis. If the public does not practice effective methods of social distancing, the phases could last longer.
However, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell told a reporter from Grupo Fórmula on Friday that Mexico will see the most cases in June.
“We have to prepare ourselves for a long epidemic,” he said, but added that the government has a positive outlook on the situation.
“We’re very hopeful that we will slow down transmission and in the moment that the [virus] spreads, which is going to happen, it won’t be so intense,” he said.
López-Gatell predicted that a decline in the number of cases could be seen in July or August, but the pandemic could continue until October.
The head of the national commission of high-specialty hospitals, Gustavo Reyes Terán, urged citizens with symptoms related to Covid-19 to remain at home and contact authorities in order to conduct the proper testing.
He said this remain-at-home procedure is important to keeping space available in high-specialty hospitals for more serious cases and ensuring that their emergency rooms do not become saturated with patients.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum urged citizens to stay at home in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, saying that such social distancing will help mitigate the spread of the virus.