Guerrero is on the verge of regressing to the “red light” maximum risk level on the federal government’s coronavirus “stoplight” map, Governor Héctor Astudillo said Sunday.
“We’re on the limit between the orange light and the red. … If infections keep increasing, the possibility that we’ll go from orange to red is very high,” he said.
The governor’s remarks came just six days after Guerrero transitioned to an “orange light” on the Health Ministry’s “stoplight” map, used to indicate the risk of coronavirus infection in each of Mexico’s 32 states and to determine which restrictions can be eased.
Coronavirus case numbers spiked as restrictions were lifted in the southern state last week, although most new infections likely stemmed from exposure while “red light” rules remained in force.
Health Minister Carlos de la Peña said that 1,389 new cases were added to Guerrero’s tally last week, a 63% increase compared to the 854 registered the previous week. More than 200 new cases were reported on four separate days last week, something that hadn’t occurred since the beginning of the pandemic.
De la Peña noted that case numbers in the Pacific coast resort cities of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo spiked considerably between July 1 and 10 – the tourism sector was allowed to reopen on July 2 – compared to the first 10 days of June.
In the former city, Guerrero’s coronavirus epicenter, 1,112 new cases were reported in the first 10 days of July, a 94% increase compared to the same period of June when 572 cases were registered.
The spike was even more alarming in Zihuatanejo, a municipality that includes the city of the same name as well as the nearby tourist destination of Ixtapa.
Just eight cases were reported in Zihuatanejo between June 1 and 10 whereas in the same period this month, 97 new infections – an increase in excess of 1,100% – were registered.
The coronavirus wards of the IMSS and the Bernardo Sepúlveda hospitals in the Pacific coast city have been full since Thursday, the newspaper El Universal reported, a situation that caused the Zihuatanejo Red Cross to suspend the transfer of patients suspected to have Covid-19.
“This pandemic exceeded hospital capacity. We apologize for not being able to provide you with [the ambulance transfer] service. … For now the situation is not in our hands,” said local Red Cross chief Gerarda González Montalva.
Some of the pressure may be relieved with the opening Saturday of a temporary, 25-bed Covid-19 hospital donated by the United States government through Ambassador Christopher Landau. The hospital arrived in containers June 26 but its opening was delayed five days by a shortage of supplies, reported the news agency Quadratín.
Elsewhere in Guerrero the situation as a whole is markedly better, according to federal data presented at the Health Ministry’s coronavirus press briefing on Sunday night.
Only 36% of general care hospital beds set aside for coronavirus patients are currently occupied while 44% of those with ventilators are in use.
Guerrero has recorded 7,471 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, the 14th highest tally among Mexico’s 32 states, and 1,069 Covid-19 fatalities, the nation’s ninth highest death toll.
The federal government has not yet published a new coronavirus “stoplight” map for this week, allegedly due to problems with the data reported by state governments, but is expected to do so on Monday.
If Guerrero moves back into the “red light” maximum risk category, it will not be the first state to be relegated since the “stoplight” system took effect at the start of June.
On the most recent map – and the one that remains in force – five states that were previously orange are marked red.