Coronavirus
Patients and families with children wait outside Mexico City's La Raza IMSS public hospital, one of the facilities where all COVID beds are full. Patients and families with children wait outside Mexico City's La Raza public hospital, one of the facilities where all COVID beds are currently full.

COVID roundup: 44,000 new cases Wednesday; active cases at all-time high

The COVID wards are now completely full at 115 public hospitals

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The federal Health Ministry reported a new daily record of 44,187 confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, while the number of estimated active cases hit an all-time high of 222,221.

Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to 4.21 million, while an additional 190 COVID-19 fatalities lifted the official death toll to 300,764.

The number of estimated active cases increased 20% in the space of a single day as the highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread rapidly. The total has risen 412% this year after ending 2021 at 43,360.

Baja California Sur continues to lead the country for active cases on a per capita basis with over 900 per 100,000 people.

Mexico City ranks second with just under 600 cases per 100,000 people followed by San Luis Potosí, Quintana Roo and Zacatecas, each of which has more than 300.

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients and deaths have not risen as quickly as case numbers since omicron’s arrival, but general care COVID wards are nevertheless full at 115 public hospitals, federal data shows.

Twenty-three of the hospitals with 100% capacity are in Mexico City. Among them are the Central Military Hospital, the Villa Coapa IMSS hospital, the La Raza IMSS hospital and the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Beds with ventilators are fully occupied at 17 hospitals across Mexico including the Tulancingo General Hospital in Hidalgo; the Regional General Hospital in Culiacán, Sinaloa; the ISSSTE Clinical Hospital in Mérida, Yucatán; and the Delicias Regional Hospital in Chihuahua.

There are just over 4,000 COVID patients in public hospitals. At the state level, Baja California Sur has the highest occupancy rate with 69% of general care COVID beds currently occupied. Four other states have rates above 50%: Chihuahua, 67%; Zacatecas, 65%; Aguascalientes, 55%; and Durango, 52%.

With case numbers surging – more than 234,000 or over 19,500 per day were reported in the first 12 days of January – more than half of Mexico’s 32 states have introduced or announced new measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, although none has directed citizens to stay at home.

• People wishing to enter establishments such as bars and nightclubs in Jalisco will have to present their vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 test result starting Friday.

Tightly packed crowds wait for appointments, paperwork, medical attention, and information about family outside the La Raza IMSS public hospital in Mexico City.
Tightly packed crowds wait for appointments, paperwork, medical attention, and information about family outside the La Raza IMSS public hospital in Mexico City.

Jalisco authorities also postponed the return to in-person classes after the Christmas-New Year break. Primary and middle school students will return to school next Monday. High school students will return on January 31.

• Since the first week of January, residents of Tlaxcala have had to present proof of vaccination or a negative test result to enter establishments such as shopping centers, supermarkets, department stores, cafes, restaurants and hotels.

The state government ordered bars and nightclubs to close and reduced the maximum permitted capacity levels at a range of commercial establishments and public places.

• Authorities in Tamaulipas have placed a temporary suspension on large events such as weddings and 15th birthday parties. They also reduced capacity levels at establishments including gyms and hotels.

• Authorities in San Luis Potosí have ramped up COVID-19 testing in numerous municipalities. Among those where people can access free rapid testing are  Matehuala, Villas de Pozos, Rioverde, Ciudad Valles and Tamazunchale.

• The Nuevo León government reduced the maximum permitted capacity in enclosed commercial establishments to 50%. In open air spaces capacity is capped at 70% of normal levels.

• The Baja California government made presenting a vaccination certificate a prerequisite to entering some commercial establishments but later relaxed the rule, saying that it was only a recommendation that businesses could choose to follow or not.

• In-person classes in Baja California Sur have been suspended and no resumption date has been set. Authorities have also reduced maximum permitted capacity levels at beaches and restaurants.

• Authorities in Aguascalientes reduced capacity levels to 50% in bars and restaurants and ordered them to close by 11:00 p.m.

• People in Ecatepec, México state, who are caught not wearing a face mask in a public place will have to undertake five hours of community service work or complete two to eight hours of jail time.

The municipal government announced the mandatory face mask rule on Wednesday. Mayor Fernando Vilchis Contreras said that the rule was designed to save lives and protect the economy.

• Other states where authorities have announced new measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus include Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa and Zacatecas. Schools in several of those states, and some others, didn’t reopen on January 3, despite the federal Ministry of Public Education urging students and teachers across the country to return to the classroom.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum earlier this month ruled out the possibility of ordering businesses and schools to close despite the increase in COVID cases.

“… The strategy can no longer be to shut down economic activities … or close schools,” she said January 4. “The strategy has to be to get vaccinated and help each other to look after ourselves.”

With reports from El Economista and Milenio

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