City orders 45,000 more tram cards; ICU admissions for Covid-19 remain low; Private pharmacies to fill public health ‘scripts; Loja highway is still blocked
Hola, Todos –
Tranvía: cifra de usuarios y el de tarjetas no cuadra (Tramway: ridership and card numbers don’t add up) – A new lot of 45,000 Tranvía cards which will be made in Spain has been ordered by the Municipio de Cuenca at a cost of $63,000. Jorge Moscoso, the Tranvía director, said that the original 100,000 cards that went on sale el 31/8/2022 have run out. Calculations at that time, given that the tram and bus systems were not integrated, deemed 100,000 cards to be enough. When the system started commercial operation el 22/8/2020, there were between 8-10,000 daily users. Currently there are 14,000.
The question is, if there are only 14,000 riders with 100,000 cards sold, why is the system running out of cards? Miguel Quezada, an economist, is hoping that there are a lot of people who bought the cards and either don’t use them or lost them. <Could most of those unused cards be the grey tourist cards and tourists took them home as souvenirs? Were there that many tourists during the pandemic? Or were they yellow senior and disabled cards and the owners died? Heck, at my age I sometimes wonder if I’ll outlive those 3 for 2 eighteen packs of toilet paper.>
Ojo con licencias y cédulas caducadas (Beware of expired licenses and cédulas) – On el 31/3, the pandemic grace period during which drivers can drive on expired licenses expires. In order to drive on the expired license, you need to have your original license, or the report if the license was stolen or lost. You also need to attach a printed appointment for the renewal. After 31/3, there will be a sanction of 50% of the SBU or $212.50 for driving on an expired license, but you will not lose points as before. Expired cédulas were originally extended to 31/3, but el pasado lunes the Registro Civil increased the extension to el 30/6/2022. You can also use a certificado de identidad y estado civil which has the same information that is on the cédula and is available at the virtual Registro Civil agency. That is open 24 hours, you can pay online and the cost is $5.00.
Modelo de entrega de fármacos tendrá prueba piloto el 31 (Drug delivery model to be pilot tested on 31st) – A pilot plan to outsource the pharmacies of the public hospitals in the country will officially start el 31/3. This próximo lunes, there will be some trials. In Cuenca, this will apply to the “Vicente Corral Moscoso” hospital. According to the MSP, the 1st phase will be verifying the system from the hospitals to the private pharmacies. Patients will be seen normally, and then take their prescriptions to be filled at an authorized outside private pharmacy of their choice.
The MSP is now enrolling pharmacies who want to participate in the program. <I hope they can find some that are willing to enroll since pharmacies got burned in a previous program during Correa’s Government. You remember clients who stiffed you.> There is a standard price list that will be applied nationally. Once the patient gets the prescription, it is automatically blocked and the hospital is notified. Medicines dispensed this way will be those that can be easily taken- – they will not include those that have to be given in the veins or that have post administration reactions. <How many of you (besides diabetes patients giving themselves insulin) are willing and able to stick a needle in yourself anyway? To say nothing of being able to find a vein.>
Se mantiene a la baja la ocupación de camas UCI (ICU bed occupancy remains low) – As of 13/3, there were 849,386 confirmed Covid-19 cases registered, 1,729,638 cases ruled out, and 144,488 probable cases. So far in 2022 there have been 879 confirmed deaths and 202 probable deaths which compares with 15,490 confirmed and 8,303 probable in 2020 and 8,784 and 1,689 in 2021 for a total of 35,347. In the public, IESS/FF.AA/PP.NN, and private hospital networks at all levels of care, only 2 people are waiting for a bed and ICU occupation ranges from 15-45%. <That’s still too many to ditch that mask. Even if chances are low, do you want to risk being on the wrong side of those statistics and wind up in an ICU bed? Do you have the kind of luck that always puts you in the slowest checkout line?>
Transbordos para llegar a Loja (Transfers to get to Loja) – Travelers between Cuenca and Loja can cross the area that has been blocked on foot. There is an improvised terminal in the quebrada Milla in San Lucas parish. Until the highway is reopened, there is a slippery dirt or mud footpath about 160 m. long where people can go from a bus or vehicle on one side of the blockage to another bus on the other side. You can either carry your bags and stuff or hire someone to do it for you. The road has been closed since the beginning of marzo when the rains caused a creek to overflow which caused a sewer to collapse taking a good part of the roadway with it. Since then, there has been work to install an ármico (corrugated sewer line – your word for the day) and rebuild the road. <And what kind of terminal doesn’t have a food court? This is Ecuador so of course even this impromptu, temporary terminal has a food court.>
People who live in the area are building stands and selling empanadas, secos de pollo, choclos con queso and other dishes to the travellers. Rosa Rosano is starting her days at 5:30 to sell food and she hopes the work will be delayed since these earnings help support her family. MTOP is estimating the work will last 20 days and be completed el 28/3.
Carratera alterna provisional (Temporary alternate route) – An alternate route of about 7 km. has been enabled for light vehicles through the San Lucas sector. It is a one way lane en mal estado (in bad condition – your phrase for the day) since it was converted for vehicle use from a neighborhood path. You can use it from 6-18:00, but be prepared to wait for opposing traffic to clear the path before your side can enter. <A friend took it on Monday and said she had to wait 2 hours for the river to go down. She said the lane went up a steep muddy hill, back down, and then through (not over – no bridges) two rivers. Leave the Mercedes at home and take the bus – it’s a lot faster.> Other routes are Loja-Río Pindo-Pasaje-Santa Isabel-Cumbe-Cuenca, Loja-Zamora-Guadalupe-28 de Mayo-Urdaneta-Cuenca, or Loja-Zamora-El Pangui-Gualaquiza-Chiguida-Gualaceo-Cuenca. <The last one took 11-1/2 hours with a lunch stop and a rest stop, but it started in Vilcabamba.>
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –