Hospital occupancy is at “alarming levels” in seven of eight Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) hospitals in Nuevo León due to increased admissions of coronavirus patients, Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón said Thursday.
Rodríguez told a virtual meeting with the state’s mayors that occupancy levels are between 74% and 91% in the IMSS facilities. He also said that private hospitals in the northern border state have a shortage of ventilators.
Data presented by the federal Health Ministry at Thursday night’s coronavirus press briefing showed that 78% of general care hospital beds set aside for coronavirus patients in Nuevo León are currently occupied while 55% of those with ventilators are in use.
Nuevo León has the equal highest occupancy rate for general care beds among Mexico’s 32 states and the third highest rate for beds with ventilators, according to the data.
Rodríguez, a former presidential candidate widely known as “El Bronco,” said that some private hospitals have occupancy rates above 90% and that an average of 63% of beds are filled in those operated by the State Workers Social Security Institute and the army.
Nuevo León Health Minister Manuel de la O Cavazos said 1,341 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized and that 44 Covid-19 deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours, the state’s highest single-day total.
The state government has recorded a total of 26,856 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 899 deaths but the federal Health Ministry is currently reporting only half that number of cases and 820 fatalities.
Federal authorities estimate there are currently 3,920 active coronavirus cases in Nuevo León, the third highest total in the country after Mexico City and México state.
Given the recent increase in case numbers, no date has yet been set for the start of the new school year, Rodríguez said, adding that classes will mostly likely be held online until the end of the year.
“We’re not going to start the school year while we don’t have the conditions [to do so],” he said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to open schools this year, it will be difficult.”
De la O told the mayors that three of the 10 indicators on Nuevo León’s “stoplight” system, used to determine which restrictions can be eased, are currently red.
The average number of new cases reported daily, the state’s coronavirus reproduction rate and the average number of daily Covid-19 deaths are the main causes of concern.
De la O said that if one more indicator switches to red, tighter economic restrictions will be reimplemented.
“I’m angry because we can do more as a society [to stop the spread of the coronavirus],” he said.
The health minister said that some people have downplayed the importance of the mitigation measures and are leaving their homes to carry out nonessential activities.
Later on Thursday, Governor Rodríguez said on Twitter that he will order nonessential businesses to close if a fourth coronavirus indicator turns red.
“We still have three indicators on red, four on orange and three on green. As a result, we’ll continue as we were: we won’t open anything else and we won’t close anything. However, if we happen to have another indicator in red, we will have to close stores and services,” he wrote.
“We have to be stricter [in the observance of health recommendations]. Our health system is strong but our heroes are tired. We have to keep the spread of the virus under control. If we reduce mobility to the maximum, … we’ll soon be better off in terms of infections and hospitalizations and with that we’ll give our doctors a rest.”