The team of discord. Access to new fans in Bogotá became a major political problem, leaving Bogotans in the middle.
And the pandemic, there. The arrival of fans in the city only shows part of the harsh situation caused by the coronavirus.
This Tuesday, the announcement of the arrival of 305 mechanical fans for the ICUs in Bogotá became the last phase of the fight between Mayor Claudia López and President Iván Duque over the handling of the crisis caused by the coronavirus. In this fight both leaders have clashed over all kinds of decisions, from the opening of the economy to the distribution of resources. But, in the middle, eight million Bogota citizens have been waiting in decisions on which, in many cases, their lives depend.
Coronavirus treatment in Bogotá has been slowed by these fights, especially by fans in Bogotá. The availability of these devices has been reduced worldwide due to the explosion in demand caused by the coronavirus. But the promises made by the national and district administrations have caused other kinds of inconveniences.
The most famous of these promises was the one made by Mayor Claudia López to mount “4,000 ICU beds” in Bogotá. The remaining low and medium complexity hospital capacity would be adapted in Corferias, where some 2,000 beds were finally installed. After this, the Secretary of Health, Alejandro Gómez, announced that only 2,000 fans would be needed in Bogotá to face this peak of the pandemic that was expected to arrive on June 25.
In the end, in Bogotá the increase in ICU beds has been very slow. According to the Mayor’s Saludata tables, the city went from 935 beds in total on April 1 to 1,322 by July 1, while the number of beds dedicated to patients with COVID-19 rose from 451 to 957 ( see box). These figures do not yet include the 305 fans announced by the national government, which will be delivered this week.
Where do the fans go?
One of the main results of the orange alert for ICU bed occupancy that Bogotá is in is that the city’s Health Secretariat has control of all intensive care units. This implies that 57 private IPS and 6 public IPS with ICU beds depend on the distribution of their patients by the Secretariat.
During the donation that took place in late April in Bogotá, private medical centers such as the Santa Fe Foundation and the San Ignacio Hospital received 125 fans. 148 ventilators for private medical centers would also be completed by a donation from Probogota until December. Meanwhile, the equipment purchased with public resources is delivered to public institutions such as subnet hospitals and the National University.
Still, both the national and district governments have failed. The District only began the procedure to purchase and install 140 fans in Bogotá in May, which will arrive in early August, when it was to purchase more than 400 to complete the promised 2000. La Nación promised to deliver more than 1,400 fans, but later lowered the forecast to 722.
With the delivery announced this Tuesday, the installed figure would reach more than 1,200 fans in Bogotá. Assuming that the cases of COVID-19 patients in ICUs were kept constant, this would give an occupation of over 55%, when it was expected to reach 50%. A new wave of critically ill patients would put the same pressure on and reinforce the risks of a stricter quarantine.
Growth of ICU beds for adults by COVID-19 in Bogotá
April 1, 2020: 451
May 1, 2020: 543
June 1, 2020: 670
July 1, 2020: 1,322
ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 (confirmed and suspected cases)
April 1, 2020: 106
May 1, 2020: 172
June 1, 2020: 295
July 1, 2020: 694
Hospitals are crowded
As of June 30, 2020:
957 ICU beds available in the city.
694 beds, of the 957, are occupied (145 confirmed cases and 549 probable)
72.5% is the occupation of the ICU in Bogotá, only for cases of coronavirus