‘Cautious optimism’ about Covid-19; Fake virus healers arrested; 4,000 cardboard coffins delivered

Apr 6, 2020 | 14 comments

Although new cases of the Covid-19 virus increased Sunday, the numbers are far below those posted last week and Ecuador health officials expect to see a flattening of the virus growth curve this week or next. “Our strategy, like those of most countries, is to avoid a spike in cases which overwhelms the hospitals and I think we are seeing signs that this is working,” says Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos. “We are watching closely the growth curve and are optimistic about what we see.”

Medical workers account for 44 percent of Ecuador’s confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The health ministry reported 181 new confirmed cases Sunday, up from Saturday’s 97 but far below the last week’s daily average.

Zevallos said that most of the country’s health system is capable of handling the expected increase of Covid-19 cases, with the exception of Guayaquil, which has almost 70 percent of the total. “Over the weekend, we have provided additional supplies to Guayas hospitals and have reassigned 250 medical workers there and expect to see improvement soon,” he said.

Quito epidemiologist Elton Mendez agrees that Ecuador’s preventive measures are showing results. “My optimism is cautious but I think we are slowing the advance of the disease,” he says. “We still have terrible problems in Guayaquil but the government seems to be responding there. The next two weeks will be critical.”

On Sunday, the health ministry reported 3,646 confirmed cases, with 180 deaths and 5,137 cases under observation. Of the deaths, 125 were in Guayas Province, 13 in El Oro, 10 in Los Ríos, 6 in Pichincha and 4 in Azuay.

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Virus statistics also show that males are contracting the virus at a significantly higher rate than women, 55 percent to 45 percent, with death rates following a similar distribution.

By province, Sunday’s case totals are: Guayas, 2,524 cases; Pichincha, 345; Los Ríos, 158; Azuay, 99; Manabi, 77; El Oro, 56; Canar, 59; Santa Elena , 52; Chimborazo , 32; Loja, 27; Bolívar , 27; Imbabura , 20; Tungurahua , 22; Cotopaxi, 17, Esmeraldas, 16; Galapagos, 11; Cotopaxi, 17, Pastaza 11 and Carchi, 9; Zamora Chinchipe, 2; Orellana , 3 and Napo, 2.

Virus update

11 Covid-19 patients discharged in Cuenca
Eleven patients treated for the Covid-19 virus at Cuenca’s José Carrasco Arteaga Hospital were discharged last week, hospital administrators say. Ten of the patients were from Cuenca and one was from Cañar. Twenty Covid-19 patients continue to receive treatment at the hosptial, two of them in critical condition.

Thousands of cardboard coffins delivered to Guayaquil
The military task force coordinating the pick-up and burial of bodies in Guayaquil has delivered 4,000 cardboard coffins to Guayaquil. The coffins are needed due to a shortage of wooden and metal coffins. According to an army spokesman, the cardboard coffins will be available at no charge to families of the dead who have been unable to buy standard coffins.

Eight arrested for selling fake Covid-19 cures
National Police have made eight arrests in Guayaquil of vendors selling fake Covid-19 virus cures and preventions. According to prosecutors, those arrested advertised their products on social media and on flyers posted on city streets. Guayas prosecutor Francisco Bodero said the defendants were selling “folk medicine” as well as pharmaceutical products that they repackaged, including atorvatatina, azithromycin, chloroquine and umbral. None of those arrested are licensed health care workers.

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