The hospitals, funeral homes, and crematorium services of Jalisco are overwhelmed by the wave of infections and deaths in the last four weeks, which contrasts with the successful containment that the State had had in 2020.
Since the beginning of 2021, Jalisco residents have seen the daily records of new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths due to SARS – CoV -2 break records, a reality that health personnel and those who work in the funeral service sector experience every day.
“We are in the maximum risk stage, we have resisted for 10 months, but this is the most critical moment, if we do not understand it we are putting our lives and the lives of the people we love at risk,” said the Governor of Jalisco.
According to data from the state government, as of Friday four of the largest hospitals in the entity registered occupancy of at least 90%, while three more are between 70% and 89% of their capacity.
Bernardo Espinoza works at the San Javier funeral home in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco. He said that the winter season is “high season” as the number of deaths rises, but never in his 20 years in this sector had he seen so many bodies arrive.
At this time they used to attend about 10 funeral services a day, with the pandemic this number doubled and they have had to ask other smaller funeral homes for help. This increase in demand has also been verified when he goes to collect bodies at the hospital and when he takes them in the cemeteries.
“In the pantheons, as there have been more services, only a certain number of people are allowed in and three others come behind us, things that were not seen last year. In the hospital it is the same, even in the covid clinics I could arrive at dawn and pick up a body, now I arrive and there are three or four behind me,” he explained.
Outside the emergency services, the scene of ambulances and private vehicles that queue up waiting to leave a sick person is repeated. In funeral homes and embalming services, cars wait their turn to drop off or pick up a corpse. “The reality is that there is no more space, there is a lot of demand and few beds, people are dying, we are tired,” says a doctor who has been attending one of the hospitals of the Mexican Institute of Social Security and who prefers anonymity.
Since March 2020, Jalisco was one of the first states to implement total confinement for about two months and its contagion indicators remained down until June when businesses reopened under strong sanitary measures.
The incidence of cases remained stable with an average of less than 300 positives per million inhabitants from July to mid-October, while the governor accelerated the hospital reconversion while starring in clashes with the Federal Ministry of Health and was shown as the example to follow at the national level.
With the arrival of autumn and the relaxation of measures, cases increased to more than 400 positives per million and the state government had to implement the so-called “emergency button” to restrict commercial and recreational activities after 7 pm and on weekends, from October 30 to November 11.
The State Governor decided not to extend the measure to avoid affecting the “Buen Fin”, a promotional period of retailers to encourage purchases during the end of the year, in addition to allowing the opening of casinos and party halls.
Since then the entity registered an accelerated increase in cases aggravated with purchases and Christmas holidays.
According to data from the “Radar” system in the entity, as of November 21 there were 4,323 new cases and 126 weekly deaths, by December 26 the figure rose to 7,692 cases and 276 weekly deaths.
By January 9, the incidence increased to 8,206 new cases and 475 deaths, despite the implementation of the second emergency button that ended on January 10.
By that date, the entity exceeded a thousand cases per million inhabitants and on January 11 the historical maximum of hospitalized patients was registered with 1,637.
Deaths from coronavirus reached nursing homes. In at least two of them, a score of infections and at least 18 deaths were registered in the last three weeks.
In social networks, messages are repeated looking for a place in hospitals or requesting data for the rent and sale of medicinal oxygen.
For the next 14 days, Jalisco will be in a new version of the emergency button in which all kinds of recreational activities are restricted, in addition to the suspension of the start of face-to-face classes in basic education and face-to-face activities in all government agencies, with the intention of reducing the number of infections.
So far, Mexico adds 1,630,258 infections and 140,241 deaths due to COVID-19. These numbers are likely higher than what is being reported.