The coronavirus risk level has been raised to red light maximum in Sinaloa, while five states regressed to medium risk yellow from low risk green on Monday.
The changes were announced even though the federal government – without warning – failed to publish a new stoplight map for the July 19-August 1 period.
The Health Ministry said Sunday it had presented “new measurement parameters” for the stoplight system to members of the National Health Council but didn’t say when it intended to publish a new stoplight map.
The new parameters will “respond to the current dynamic of infections, hospitalizations and deaths as well as the ages [of people] mainly affected by the epidemic,” the ministry said, adding that the dynamic of the pandemic in Mexico has changed due to the vaccine rollout.
Despite the absence of guidance from the federal government, Sinaloa authorities announced that the risk level in the northern state would increase from yellow to red on Monday after the state recorded 7,783 new cases in the first 18 days of July for a daily average of 432.
Despite the switch, no new restrictions will be implemented, said Governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel. However, authorities were set to ramp up enforcement of existing restrictions, especially at businesses in coastal areas frequented by tourists.
There are 4,383 active cases in Sinaloa, local authorities said Sunday. Just over half that number –2,198 – are in Culiacán, the state’s capital and largest city, while Mazatlán ranks second with 542. At the municipal level, Culiacán has the fifth highest number of active cases in the country after four boroughs in Mexico City.
Six other Sinaloa municipalities have more than 100 active cases. They are Ahome, 502; Escuinapa, 205; Navolato, 184; Elota, 154; El Rosario, 137; and Guasave, 129.
Only Mexico City and México state have more active cases than Sinaloa, which announced 653 new cases on Sunday.
Federal data shows that the state has the highest occupancy rate in the country for general care hospital beds, at 62%, and the third highest rate for beds with ventilators, at 47%.
The northern state has recorded just over 50,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic and more than 6,600 Covid-19 deaths, according to Sinaloa government data.
Sinaloa is currently the only state in the country at the red light risk level, even though Mexico is amid a third wave of the pandemic that is largely fueled by the highly contagious Delta strain.
Nineteen states were low risk green on the most recent map published by the Health Ministry, which expired Sunday, but authorities in México state, Michoacán, San Luis Potosí, Oaxaca and Guerrero all announced that the risk level would increase to yellow light medium on Monday as case numbers rise.
México state has the second highest number of estimated active cases among the 32 states with almost 7,500. Mexico City, which remains yellow despite a worsening outbreak, has 28,766, a figure than accounts for one-third of the 85,512 estimated active cases across Mexico.
The federal Health Ministry reported 4,438 new cases and 91 additional Covid-19 deaths on Sunday, increasing the accumulated totals to 2.66 million infections and 236,331 fatalities. Sunday’s tally came after more than 12,000 new infections were reported on four consecutive days. Lower case tallies have been registered on Sundays throughout the pandemic, presumably due to a drop-off in testing and/or the recording and reporting of test results.
Case numbers reported so far this month show that the size of the outbreak has grown quickly.
A total of 139,868 new cases were reported during the first 18 days of July for a daily average of 7,770, an increase of 121% compared to the daily average in June, which was 3,518.
Health authorities reported 3,284 Covid-19 deaths in the same period for an average of 182 per day, a decline of 42% compared to last month.
The reduction in the daily death toll comes at a time when the majority of older, more vulnerable Mexicans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
While the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has recently increased, occupancy rates are still well below those recorded in the first and second waves of the pandemic. The Health Ministry reported Sunday that 69% of general care hospital beds set aside for coronavirus patients and 76% of those with ventilators are available.
It also reported that just under 54.3 million vaccine doses had been administered since the rollout began on December 24. Just over four in 10 adult Mexicans – 42% – have received at least one dose of a vaccine, the ministry said, adding that 21.6 million people are fully vaccinated and 16.4 million have received one of two required shots.
Mexico ranks behind Latin American countries such as Chile, Uruguay, Cuba, Argentina and Brazil in terms of shots given per 100 people but ahead of many other nations in the region including Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Guatemala. Forty-three jabs per 100 people have been administered here, according to The New York Times vaccination tracker.
Mexico’s North American trade partners, Canada (120 shots per 100 people) and the United States (101 shots), rank 12th and 28th, respectively on the Times‘ list. Mexico ranks 71st along with Panama and Azerbaijan.