As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, the health systems in many states are coming under intense pressure.
Mexico City and México state have taken the brunt of it so far, but hospitals are also being stretched to the limit in Guanajuato, Michoacán and Puebla.
Guanajuato Health Minister Daniel Alberto Díaz Martínez said Thursday that five public hospitals in five municipalities – León, San Francisco del Rincón, Purísima del Rincón, Tarimoro and San Felipe – have no beds left. Eight other public hospitals in the state only have between one and six available beds, he said.
“The same thing is happening in private hospitals; a lot of them don’t have ventilators left,” the health minister said.
Just over 1,000 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized in Guanajuato, according to state government data, and 43% are on ventilators. Díaz described the situation as “delicate.”
Federal data shows that 86% of general care beds are taken in the Bajío region state. Only Mexico City, where 89% of beds are in use, has a higher occupancy rate among Mexico’s 32 states.
Meanwhile, Guanajuato’s accumulated case tally passed 100,000 on Thursday. A third of those cases were detected in León, the state’s largest city. Federal data shows that only Mexico City and México state have recorded more cases than Guanajuato. The state’s Covid-19 death toll is 7,161.
Some hospitals in neighboring Michoacán are also at or near capacity. The Michoacán Health Ministry said Thursday that 97% of beds set aside for coronavirus patients in the state capital Morelia are occupied. Covid units at federally-run IMSS and ISSSTE hospitals as well as those at state-run facilities in Morelia are completely full.
The newspaper El Universal reported that the regional hospital in La Piedad, a municipality in northern Michoacán that borders both Jalisco and Guanajuato, has reached 100% occupancy.
Zeus Rueda Ríos, chief of the ambulance service in La Piedad, said it has become increasingly difficult to find beds for coronavirus patients. He also said there is a shortage of medications and oxygen to treat people who are seriously ill with Covid-19.
Although federal data shows that only 55% of general care beds are taken in Michoacán, hospitals are under much greater pressure in Morelia, La Piedad and some other parts of the state. Some coronavirus patients have died outside medical facilities and in ambulances because they were unable to find a bed, El Universal said.
Governor Silvano Aueroles said this week that Michoacán is at risk of switching to maximum risk red on the federal stoplight map if the situation doesn’t improve. Currently high risk orange, Michoacán has recorded just over 39,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and 3,080 Covid-19 deaths.
In Puebla, 80% of general care beds are taken, according to federal data, but at least 11 hospitals have a 100% occupancy rate for such beds. Among them: the general hospitals in Tehuacán, Acatlán, Teziutlán and Izúcar de Matamoros and the regional military hospital in Puebla city.
Several other hospitals in the state, where there are currently about 1,400 coronavirus patients receiving medical care, have occupancy rates above 90%.
As a result of the the state government suspended non-urgent medical procedures and appointments in public hospitals as of Wednesday.
“Only emergencies will be treated,” said Health Minister José Antonio Martínez García. “… Oncology and pathology appointments will continue because they’re urgent.”
Puebla, which has recorded more than 55,000 coronavirus cases and almost 7,000 Covid-19 deaths, is currently high risk orange on the stoplight map. There are currently active cases in 90 of Puebla’s 217 municipalities, according to the state government.