Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell announced Wednesday that the country has an emergency response protocol ready in the event that the coronavirus known as Covid-19 arrives in Mexico.
The health system has prepared 2,738 intensive care hospital beds and 6,175 medical ventilators to deal with a possible outbreak of the virus.
Hospitals operated by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) will contribute 1,867 beds and 2,565 ventilators, while State Workers’ Social Security Institute (ISSSTE) hospitals will provide 551 beds and 3,064 ventilators.
The rest of the beds and breathing machines will be provided by Pemex hospitals and federal health institutes.
López-Gatell said that as many as 85% of potential cases of Covid-19 in Mexico will present only light symptoms that will be treatable at home with medical advice given over the telephone.
“A small percentage, 15%, could have serious symptoms … [such as] inflammation in the lungs, pneumonia … and an even smaller percentage — 3% — are going to require advanced attention in intensive care, and in Mexico we have over 157 specialized hospitals and over 2,500 second-class hospitals that have these types of respiratory support capabilities,” he said.
He said that the ability to treat non-severe cases at home and in rural areas will “avoid intra-hospital propagation [of the virus] and saturation of the facilities. They won’t require large-scale or major investments for their care. It would be symptomatic treatment to provide relief.”
His prognosis is that the virus will behave more or less like the seasonal flu that usually propagates in Mexico between October and March.
“It most likely won’t behave like a catastrophic disease,” he said.
Nevertheless, he emphasized that medical personnel are being trained to treat critical patients, protect themselves and reduce the probability of deaths.
The director of the Health Ministry’s epidemiology department, José Luis Alomía, said that the country’s health services have a strategic reserve of 145,000 disposable and biodegradable hospital gowns, 111,000 surgical face masks, 32,599 propene face masks and 42,729 high-tech respirators to protect health workers.
Source: Milenio (sp)