The coronavirus situation in Mexico City hospitals has become even more dire.
Occupancy of general care hospital beds in the capital crept up to 88% on Tuesday from 86% on Monday while 83% of beds with ventilators are in use, also a 2% uptick.
In Mexico City hospitals operated by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), the country’s largest public healthcare provider, there are just six general care beds and 200 beds with ventilators currently available for coronavirus patients.
However, IMSS said Tuesday night that 183 of the latter could be used by patients who don’t require intubation.
Across the entire health system in the capital there are only 316 general care beds and 998 beds with ventilators currently available, according to Mexico City government data published Tuesday.
At red light “maximum” risk on the federal government coronavirus stoplight map since December 19, Mexico City has recorded just under 343,000 confirmed cases and 22,399 Covid-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Hospital occupancy levels are also concerning in Iguala, Guerrero. The city’s general hospital, IMSS hospital and State Workers Social Security Institute hospital are full or very close to capacity, the newspaper El Universal reported.
There are beds available in a provisional Covid unit set up by local authorities but no medical personnel to attend to patients, said Iguala Mayor Antonio Jaimes Herrera.
“A lot of them have got sick and a lot of the specialists are quitting because their colleagues have been infected. Others have gone to Mexico City,” he said.
For the past two weeks, the mayor has been calling on the state government to declare Iguala red on the stoplight system (Guerrero is currently “high” risk orange) so that restrictions can be tightened and people’s mobility reduced.
Iguala health chief Federico Ortiz said that last weekend was the worst of the pandemic for the city, which is located just over 100 kilometers north of the state capital Chilpancingo. Of 14 Covid deaths in Guerrero, six occurred in Iguala, he said.
The municipality has recorded 1,188 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and 157 Covid-19 deaths, according to state government data.
In other Covid news:
• The Tabasco government announced that coronavirus restrictions implemented in December will remain in place until at least February 15. That means that businesses such as restaurants and hotels will not be able to increase their capacity above 50% for at least the next six weeks. Beauty salons, party halls and events centers are among the businesses that must remain closed in the Gulf coast state.
Tabasco, which has recorded just over 45,000 confirmed cases and 3,304 Covid-19 deaths, is currently orange on the stoplight map but Governor Adán Augusto López Hernández warned that the state would regress to red if hospital occupancy goes above 50%.
“We have hospital occupancy now of 28% but if the number shoots up to 55%, we’ll have to shut down. I hope we can stabilize [the situation] but if not we’re going to take the step of going to the red stoplight,” the Morena party governor said.
• The Hidalgo government declared that red light restrictions would be imposed in 33 municipalities in the state’s south, some of which abut the Valley of México metropolitan area, the country’s coronavirus epicenter. Health Minister Alejandro Benítez said the municipalities account for 60% of total cases, active cases, hospitalized patients and Covid-19 deaths.
Among the municipalities where red light restrictions were to take effect are the state capital Pachuca, Mineral de la Reforma, Tulancingo, Huasca de Ocampo, Mineral del Chico, Tlaxcoapan and Zempoala.
Hidalgo, currently orange on the stoplight map, has recorded just over 25,000 confirmed cases and 3,513 Covid-19 deaths. Benítez said that case numbers have risen quickly over the past three weeks, and spiked even further in recent days.
“This substantial increase in the number of cases results in an increase of [the number of] people hospitalized,” the health minister said, adding that some hospitals are close to capacity.
According to federal data, almost 77% of general care hospital beds in Hidalgo and 52% of those with ventilators are in use. Among Mexico’s 32 federal entities, the state has the fifth highest occupancy rate in both categories.
• Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday night that a case of possible fraud related to Mexico’s Covid-19 vaccination program had been detected in Quintana Roo. He said that a group of people who passed themselves off as representatives of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer had gone house to house to collect people’s personal details, supposedly as part of preparations to administer the vaccine.
López-Gatell said the Quintana Roo Health Ministry had issued a warning to residents and notified the health regulatory agency Cofepris about the “possible misrepresentation of [Pfizer] personnel.”
No pharmaceutical company representatives have been authorized to participate in the government’s vaccination program, which began on December 24 and currently remains in stage 1 – the immunization of frontline health workers.
• Mexico’s accumulated coronavirus case tally rose to 1,466,490 on Tuesday with 11,271 new cases reported. The official Covid-19 death toll increased to 128,822 with 1,065 additional fatalities. The Health Ministry estimates that there are almost 69,000 active cases across the country.
Mexico’s fatality rate remains at 8.8 per 100 confirmed cases, the highest level among the 20 countries currently most affected by the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 102 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 residents in Mexico, the seventh highest rate among the same 20 countries. The countries with higher per-capita mortality rates than Mexico are, in order, Italy, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Spain, the United States and Hungary.
The nationwide occupancy rates for general care beds and beds with ventilators are 53% and 45%, respectively, according to data presented by the Health Ministry Tuesday night.
Health authorities also said that just over 48,000 people have received a first shot of the Pfizer vaccine and that 107,250 doses have arrived in the country.