Mexico’s health system: ‘We are facing the fourth wave of COVID-19’

The Institute of Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) made an urgent call to all its personnel and warned that Mexico is already in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through Internal Official Letter No. DNS / 039/2022, dated this Sunday, January 2, and with the subject “Preparation for the rebound in cases of COVID-19,” the health institution indicated that during the last days there was a “Constant increase” of infections with “mild and outpatient clinical cases” throughout the country.

Due to the situation, the ISSSTE urged the directorates of General and Regional Hospitals, the National Medical Center, hospital clinics, and family medicine clinics to prepare to face this new stage of the health emergency.

Likewise, the Institute pointed out that the new Omicron variant is transmitted faster than the previous ones detected and that this will cause more mild cases with “bronchial rather than pulmonary clinical cases.”

“… it will translate into an increase in outpatient consultations in first and second level units with family medicine care, so care in the triage areas should be reinforced for the correct diagnosis and referral of patients”, the document reads.

Despite the fact that the Omicron variant generates fewer serious cases than Delta, both still circulate in Mexico, which would cause a “very high” number of new infections, a situation that would foresee an increase in hospitalizations.

The document emphasizes that despite the fact that the omicron variant generates fewer serious cases, compared to the delta variant, both variants are still circulating in Mexico, so a “very high” number of new infections is expected, and due to the increase in cases, the country is expected to increase hospitalizations “exponentially”.

Therefore, the ISSSTE asked all its medical units to prepare in the best possible way for a probable and prompt conversion and increase of beds available for patient care as the Fourth Wave advances in the country.

This circular, signed by Ramiro López Elizalde, Health Regulatory Director, highlighted that if more medical, nursing, and paramedical personnel are required due to the demand for services in the units, a request must be made to the Health Regulatory Directorate to manage human resources before the Regulatory Directorate of Administration and Finance.

In addition, to avoid putting the health and safety of patients at risk, the ISSSTE instructed all directors to “take the necessary actions” in the event that there are no medicine and supplies, all of this “putting the health of the patients first while continuing to carry out the corresponding administrative procedures once the emergency is resolved”.

Finally, the document stated that the health institution will remain attentive to the advance of the Coronavirus pandemic in Mexico and will support, within its capabilities, to face the challenge and overcome it.

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