Juan Ignacio Schwerdt / [email protected]
The fourth wave finds no ceiling in Bahía Blanca and the region. For a month, the accumulated cases have tripled from one week to the next, a situation never seen until now since the pandemic began.
The figures are alarming: only in this last week no less than 10,559 inhabitants of the area were infected with Covid-19, the highest figure recorded to date.
The previous maximum peak had occurred between May 20 and 26, 2021, at the worst moment of the third wave. That week the accumulated infections were 5,214; that is, less than half of those that occurred in the last seven days.
Beyond this, the difference between that wave and the current one is the way in which cases are increasing.
In the weeks prior to that peak, the records were 3,100 accumulated cases; after 3,426 (+10.5%); after 4,797 (+40%); and, finally, the aforementioned 5,214 (+8.7%).
If you compare the 3,100 cases in week 1 with the 5,214 at the peak, the increase during that month was 93.1%.
In the current wave the escalation is much more pronounced.
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A month ago, the weekly infections, in the 15 districts that make up Sanitary Region I, were 300. The following week they jumped to 1,186 (+295%); then, to 3,456 (+191%); and finally to 10,559 (+205%).
In other words, in the last month the accumulated weekly cases climbed 3,420%. Crazy.
Active cases have been rising in a similar way. At the close of this edition it was officially reported that there were 10,478, when last week there were 3,959. A month ago there were 373.
The testing centers of Bahía Blanca and the area are not enough to meet the demand.
The death record remains stable
The substantial data that remains stable is the record of deaths from Covid-19. Despite the tremendous increase in infections, this week there were 7 fatalities in Bahía Blanca and the other 14 districts of RS I; that is, the same figure as in the previous seven days.
Here it is also pertinent to make the comparison with the most pronounced peak of the previous wave of infections, which occurred between May and June 2021.
In that week from May 20 to 26, 2021, with 5,214 infections, deaths had risen to 87. And in the previous seven days, with less than 5,000 cases, there had been 85.
The peak of deaths, it is worth clarifying, came two weeks later: it was 129, and it occurred between June 3 and 9 last. If this value is taken as a reference and compared with the peak of cases, it can be concluded that the mortality rate at that time fluctuated around 2.5%.
On June 14, 2021, in addition, the peak occupancy of intensive care beds was recorded: 82.9% in Bahía Blanca, the region’s referral center. Out of 76 available beds, 63 were occupied, 52 of them with coronavirus patients.
Now the situation is completely different.
Not only because this week there were 7 cases, but because not even in the worst case scenario is it contemplated that in the next two weeks the mortality rate could climb to 2.5% (which would represent more than 260 deaths every seven days).
At the close of this edition, in fact, the occupancy rate of intensive care beds in Bahía Blanca was 38.2%. Out of 76 total beds, 29 were occupied, but only 6 of them with critical Covid-19 patients.
Acrogliano: “There is an intention to go out and test ourselves in a desperate way”
“This acceleration of cases that we have been experiencing for approximately a month is worrying, but looking at the data we are not so dissatisfied. The number of patients who arrive at the hospital and enter intensive care, although it has increased, is not substantially as important as it was in the previous wave,” said the Secretary of Health of Tres Arroyos, Gabriel Guerra.
“The pandemic is no longer what we saw in terms of numbers, statistics and percentages. Today the pandemic presents a horizon towards its end,” he added.
The municipalities in the area recognize, however, that although this new wave is not affecting the critical areas of the health system, it is causing a bottleneck in other sensitive services, such as testing and vaccination.
Proof of this are the queues of up to two and three blocks that are seen, these days, in the places where both services are provided in Bahia and the area, despite the fact that the Health and Sanitary Region I areas have enabled more and have even arranged laboratories and itinerant immunization posts.
See also: The adventure of swabbing in Bahía Blanca
“Hopefully, with the new restrictions placed on testing, the demand will begin to drop, but at the moment it is very high. This generates discomfort and a lot of nervousness, but above all it increases the risk of contagion,” an official from the area confided this week.
“Let’s think that the positivity rate today ranges from 40% to 60%; that is, between 4 and 6 people who are going to be swabbed end up testing positive. The conclusion is obvious: if half of the people who are lining up at the centers of testing is sick, the possibility of getting infected there is enormous,” he reflected.
Vaccination, in figures and percentages
The 80,1% of the estimated population of the region already has two doses of the vaccine. This is 544,598 people.
The 89,4% already received the first dose. There are 608,037 people in total, of which 63,439 are waiting to receive the second.
72,157 people are those who have not yet received any dose.
159,095 inhabitants of Bahia and the area have already received the third dose or booster. They represent the 23,4% of the total.
89.8% of the inhabitants of Adolfo Gonzales Chaves already have both doses. It is the district that has vaccinated the most so far. 32% already have the third dose or booster.