Mexican health authorities reported Wednesday that the number of coronavirus fatalities in the country climbed to 449, adding 43 more deaths in the past day. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases added is 5,847, adding 448 new cases in the last 24-hours.
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The suspected cases are 11,717, those are cases of patients who have contacted the government hotline, or visited hospitals, with symptoms and contact tracing who have been classified as likely infected but without test confirmation. So far, 25,138 people have tested negative, meaning less than 40,000 tests for COVID-19 have been completed in the last two months since the first case was detected in the country.
“The contagion is increasingly accelerated,” said the Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell . “Transmission in the country is geographically focused. That is, in urban areas. Surbubanas or rural areas do not yet have a very relevant transmission”, he said.
A factor in rural areas having less documented cases is likely a lack of medical facilities and testing availability with the larger population centers receiving most of the limited resources available in Mexico.
In contrast, the incidence rate of confirmed cases puts Baja California Sur in first place, with 20 infected per 100,000 inhabitants. It is followed by Mexican City and Quintana Roo, which have more than 15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Those statistics are calculated using a very small sampling number due to Mexico’s lack of testing and thousands of suspected cases in the country being reported as pneumonia and respiratory infections to keep reporting numbers low.
If suspected cases were counted alongside confirmed cases, the total number of people with outpatient cases would be 12,904. Those who are hospitalized stable are 1,757 and the serious cases would be 2,481. The intubated cases would be 422.
The total number of cases would rise, bringing together people suspected of COVID-19 and those who tested positive, would add 17,564 cases. The deaths, using the same sum, would make up a total of 541 deaths, since the suspects so far have registered 92 deaths.
With the imminent arrival of Phase 3 due to the coronavirus epidemic in Mexico, which “is very close” to being enacted, according to López-Gatell, hospitals are also preparing to care for dozens of those infected. If Mexico implemented widespread testing, the country would have already activated Phase 3.
Given this, municipalities have been acquiring not only the necessary supplies to face the most critical stage, but also for possible massive deaths from COVID-19.
For example, in La Paz, Baja California South, the Director of Cemeteries, Carmen Benítez, reported that a new crematorium will be opened and they are waiting for a new oven to arrive so that it will be working in the coming days.
Mexico City will publish in the Official Gazette an aid protocol for funeral expenses, cremation and use of cemeteries. The capital’s Ministry of Inclusion and Social Welfare reported that all that remains is to formalize collaboration agreements with funeral homes to provide the service.
Likewise, Sergio González, the Durango Health Secretary confirmed that body bags have already been purchased. He commented that they already have a stock of ready-to-use material, “but hopefully it doesn’t come to that. You have to think about solving the issue and move forward,” he said in a video conference.
In recent days, the Oficialía Mayor de Hidalgo published in its Official Newspaper the call for public tenders for the acquisition of 1,760 bags for adult and children’s corpses. This consists of 950 bags for adult bodies, made with polycline chloride resin and 810 children’s bags with the same characteristics, 42 biodegradable for hazardous waste and 42 for low-density infectious solid-biological waste.
Another city council that is already preparing for the possibility of massive deaths from the pandemic is Querétaro, whose local Ministry of Public Services reported that it will make crypts available for victims of COVID-19.
Once authorized, 1,024 locations that were built in the Cimatario Pantheon between November and December will go on sale.
Also, the authorities of Culiacán, Sinaloa, are looking land with at least 1,000 spaces for those killed by the virus.
In Matamoros, Tamaulipas, a mass grave is enlisted to temporarily deposit corpses, in case the deaths from coronavirus soar. This week began the excavation and preparation of graves in the municipal pantheon of Santa Cruz.
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Similarly, Hipólito Rodríguez, municipal president of Xalapa, Veracruz, announced that they are already working on the expansion of cemeteries in case more spaces are required,
In addition, the Oaxaca government acquired 200 airtight bags for the victims for COVID-19.