Given the continuous rise in covid-19 cases in the country, iCovid specialists called intensify the testing and traceability strategy, reinforce self-care and early consultation for symptoms associated with the virus. The northern regions of the country lead the infection rates.
The team led by the University of Chile, the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the University of Concepción, presented report number 59, where it realizes that the burden of infections per 100,000 inhabitants reaches 3.9 cases.
At the regional level, practically all regions saw an increase in cases at the end of September and a slight decrease during the first two days of October.
The highest rates of cases occur in the regions of Arica-Parinacota (12), Tarapacá (8.0), Antofagasta (6.7) and Atacama (5.6). Meanwhile, the lowest are Coquimbo (2.3) O’Higgins (2.3), Bío Bío (2.1), La Araucanía (2.0), Los Ríos (2.2) and Los Lagos (2, 3).
The Magallanes region is the only one that did not show an increase at the end of September, maintaining the lowest national rates, around 0.3 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
“At the country level, transmission is increasing due to growth in some regions: in the North Arica-Parinacota, Tarapacá and Atacama, in the center of Chile, Valparaíso, South Center keeps rising Ñuble and in the extreme South Magallanes maintains high rates. On the contrary, the transmission has shown a downward trend since the end of September, without reaching green in the following regions: Antofagasta, Coquimbo, Metropolitana, O’Higgins, Maule, Bío Bío, La Araucanía, Los Ríos, Los Lagos, and Aysén ”, says the report.
Likewise, the report shows that 79.7% of the SARS CoV2 detection tests were reported to the Ministry of Health within one day from the medical consultation, a trend towards improvement that has been observed since mid-January, when it was incorporated. the rapid antigen test.
On the contrary, the proportion of people who consult and are identified early, within 48 hours of the onset of their symptoms, remains low, reaching values of 50.2% (orange) in September.
Both factors determine a stabilization of the timely notification around 59.8% still far from the coverage goal of 80% notification in a maximum of three days.
On the other hand, at the country level 1.3% of the tests carried out gave a positive result for covid-19, similar to the value of 1.3% from the previous week. Usually, almost all regions have kept test positivity rates below 2%, with the exceptions of the southern regions that have positivity values less than 1%.
Therefore, the researchers argue, “Increasing the testing capacity, which is increasing the taking of PCR tests, is an important part of the pandemic control strategy and a testing capacity of 17.7 tests per thousand inhabitants on a weekly average is maintained ”, state the researchers.
Regarding traceability, the proportion of laboratory tests reported within 24 hours of medical notification is 79.7%, a trend towards improvement that has been observed since mid-January and which is reaching the green threshold of 80%. . At the national level, lower values are observed in the region of Tarapacá (48.6%) and Aysén (53.3%) compared to the rest of the regions. Notable values in Bío Bío (90.0%) and Valparaíso (85.7%).
Likewise, the proportion of people who consult and are identified early (within 48 hours of the onset of their symptoms) remains at a figure that shows a slow deterioration since January of this year.
The indicator for early confirmation of cases, which corresponds to the sum of the times of the two indicators just described, from the onset of symptoms until the Ministry of Health receives the information on the result of the PCR examination, has remained relatively stable since end of September, in figures that were around 52.4% compliance. In general, all regions have stabilized at values above 50%, with the exception of Arica and Parinacota (86.6%) and Magallanes (100%) which are in green, while Atacama (69.2%), Antofagasta (68.1%), Tarapacá (68.2%), O’Higgins (63.5%), Maule (62.5) and La Araucanía (66.2) are in yellow.
According to the report, in the last week, the average ICU bed occupancy remained at 85%, showing a small increase compared to the previous week (82%), after falling for several weeks. Average ICU bed occupancy levels are low, but they exhibit variations at the local level.
The regions of Arica, Tarapacá, Maule, Ñuble, Los Ríos, Aysén and Magallanes are below 70%, while the regions of Antofagasta, Coquimbo, Bío Bío, La Araucanía and Los Lagos are around 80-85% . Highlights the high occupancy in the Antofagasta, Valparaíso and Metropolitan regions, around 90%.
The reduction in ICU bed occupancy is directly associated with the decrease in covid-19 patients. This reached its highest point (77% of the beds occupied by covid-19 patients) in April 2021, but it has been falling steadily since mid-June to date. It is currently at its lowest level of the entire pandemic, around 16%.
In all regions, ICU occupancy by covid-19 patients does not exceed 20% (the exception is the Atacama region with 22%). “In several regions a decrease in this indicator of hospital occupancy was observed in the last week and in others it was maintained (but there are no increases), with which the hospital demand of covid-19 patients seems to be controlled in recent weeks” , they specify in the letter.
Regarding the reduction in employment, they explain that it could be due to “progress in the booster dose campaign for that age group: as indicated in the figures published by the Department of Health Statistics and Information of the Ministry of Health, DEIS, there are currently 2 million people over 60 years of age who have already received the booster dose (out of a total of 3 million who completed their vaccination cycle) ”, the researchers state.
About 400 ICU beds are occupied by covid-19 patients, where 280 (70%) are used by patients over 50 years of age. Hospital occupancy indicators are at their best level throughout the pandemic, showing a sustained reduction for 3 months. According to the analysis, this reduction in hospitalized Covid-19 patients is even in all regions of the country and age groups.
For the researcher of the Complex Engineering System Institute (ISCI) and academic of Industrial Engineering of the University of Chile, Marcelo Olivares, “the advances in vaccination, quarantines, border closures and other containment measures implemented in recent months have made it possible to reduce the occupation of ICU beds in practically all the regions of the country ”.
Therefore, they insist that “precautions such as the use of masks must be maintained to avoid community transmission, and also be attentive to any symptoms to isolate oneself, test oneself promptly and follow up on contacts.”
Regarding vaccination coverage, to date, 13.5 million people have been vaccinated with a full cycle, out of a target audience over 18 years of age, estimated at 15.2 million, achieving a coverage of 89%. All age groups are around 90% coverage (between 88% and 92%). In addition, around 30.5 million doses have been inoculated in total, of which 20 million correspond to the Sinovac vaccine.
Furthermore, if we break it down by age group, the most lagging behind is 18-39 years with a coverage of 88%. Likewise, during the last month the vaccination cycle of 350 thousand people (approx.) Under 50 years was completed, much less than the million vaccinated in the previous month in the same age group, which reflects that it is reaching the upper limit of effective vaccination (similar to the other age groups).
“According to the information published by the DEIS, a total of 3.6 million booster doses have been administered, of which 2.5 million are concentrated in vulnerable populations and over 60 years.”
Likewise, the document indicates that given the approval of the Pfizer and Sinovac vaccines for minors between 6 and 17 years of age, the vaccination campaign for this group was expanded with a target population of 3 million children. Coverage (complete vaccination cycle) is 46% for the 12-17 age group. In the youngest age group (6 to 11 years), 38% have received the first dose of the Coronavac vaccine (there are no second doses yet). Therefore, the researchers point out that “it is very important to continue making rapid progress with the vaccination of boys and girls so that school activities can be safely resumed and thus mitigate possible outbreaks.”