City will comply with holiday events restrictions, awaits vaccine requirement details; IESS hospital expands capacity for new Covid cases; Candy for Jesus
Hola, Todos –
En un festival venderán los dulces de conventos (Convent sweets to be sold at a festival) – To reactivate the economic situation of the convents in Cuenca, several have organized the Christmas festival, Dulce Jesús Mío (My Sweet Jesus) <Sounds like the title of either a gospel or country western song.> The event will be el 17 & 28/12 from 10-17:00 in the plaza de Santo Domingo where the sweets made in the convents will be shown and sold. These will include quesadillas, dulces, pan and roscas. There will also be consecrated wines, restoratives, agua de pítimas (made with rose and carnation petals, valerian, lemon verbena, cedrón, and other herbs), and radish syrups. <I’m having a hard time imagining a radish syrup except as some sort of home remedy for a sore throat or upset stomach.>
Cortometrajes (Short films) – The Dirección de Cultura at the U. of Cuenca will present a pre-premier of short films el 20/12 las 20:00 in the Teatro Carlos Cueva.
Seminario (Seminar) – The Department of Water Resources and Environmental Sciences at the U. of Cuenca is organizing an international seminar on hydrological modeling el 20/12 a las 17:00 on Facebook Live. <Will they teach you that left to itself, water always runs downhill?>
Primer contagio con ómicron (First infection with omicron) – See article in Wednesday’s CHL for story.
UCI vuelve a abrirse en Cuenca (ICU reopens in Cuenca) – The ICU reopened este lunes at the Hospital José Carrasco Arteaga (HJCA -IESS). Fernando Ortega, an intensive care doctor at the HJCA said that the ICU reopened after several months and we shouldn’t be careless since Covid is not over yet. If you have symptoms, do not go to that Christmas dinner. Ortega confirmed that since el lunes, 7 beds have been set up for the increase in cases which he attributed to the crowds on Black Friday. He said that 5 of the cases were critical and the patients had not been vaccinated. 2 of the patients are in intensive care. Oddly <or maybe not so oddly>, most of the cases were from one family that decided not to get vaccinated.
Ortega recommended avoiding social gatherings in enclosed spaces and that any symptom is Covid until it is proven otherwise through testing. He said that biosecurity measures such as use of masks should be continued even if you have been vaccinated. María José Vásquez, manager of the Hospital Vicente Corral Moscoso (HVCM) said that they have 2 stable patients and and 4 in ICU beds. She said that they give an average 7 PCR tests per week to people with respiratory symptoms. Currently the HVCM has 6 beds for critical patients, another 6 for stabilized patients, and space to increase the beds if needed. There is a wing that can be occupied with a capacity of 70 beds. She also said that more than ever, biosecurity measures need to be maintained: use of masks, social distancing, and hand disinfection. The hospitalized patients are mostly seniors with diabetes, hypertension, and oncological problems <is that a euphemistic way to say cancer?>.
Presentan Campaña “Ponte Pilas…Cuenca sin embarazo adolescente” (Launch of the “Ponte Pilas…Cuenca without teenage pregnancy” Campaign) – This campaign was launched ayer in the Salón de la Ciudad. The campaign is directed at youth and adolescents in Cuenca and led by the Red de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva REDSEX through the Fundación Sendas and the GAD Municipal de Cuenca. This year’s compaign seeks to reduce teen pregnancies using educational communication strategies focusing on gender, rights and interculturality.
Periodistas recibirán al Niño Viajero (Journalists will receive the Niño Viajero) – Francisco Ramírez, president of the Trabajadores de los Medios de Comunicación del Azuay, said that they will receive the Niño Viajero. The procession will start Friday a las 8:00 from the Monasterio El Carmen de la Asunción and end at the Café Royal (Bolívar 5-34 y Mariano Cueva) with a mass to follow. <I guess the Niño is going to be thirsty after that procession and could use a cup of coffee.> The viewing and vigil will be from 10-16:00 and at 16:00 a procession of journalists will take the Niño Viajero back to the Monasterio. <Is this viewing an invitation to the public to have a cup of coffee with the Niño?>
Mal estado de la vía Medio Ejido (Poor condition of Medio Ejido road) – Av. Enrique Arízaga Toral, also known as the autopista Medio Ejido, to the south of Cuenca, needs maintenance. This road starts at av. de Las Américas and ends at the Y de Sayausí where it connects to the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme. The road carries a lot of heavy traffic going to Guayas which contributes to the formation of potholes which have gotten worse with the rains. The responsibility for the maintenance belongs to MTOP. Neighbors of the La Florida barrio are planning to meet with authorities el viernes to talk about immediate solutions. Sonia Machado, director of the Misicata barrio said another problem is the lack of sidewalks and that it is used for cyclists and athletes going to the Parque Nacional Cajas. There are also a lot of businesses along the route whose customers park on the street putting other drivers at risk.
90% de avance en las obras en el aeropuerto (90% progress on airport construction) – The preventive maintenance project at the Mariscal La Mar airport is 90% complete. According to the Corporación Aeroportuaria de Cuenca, deteriorated asphalt was removed and a new 2″ thick layer was placed last weekend. <Compare 2″ on an airport runway with your average suburban asphalt driveway which is 4″ thick. Hopefully there’s another 4-6% of asphalt under that 2″ layer.> Marcelo Carvallo, CORPAC director, expects the milling and recapping to be finished this weekend. The current work is prior to a comprehensive rehabilitation of the landing strip and taxiways which will start in the 1st quarter of 2022.
Consecutivos accidentes de buses de transporte público (Consecutive accidents with public buses) – A Cooperativa Flota Pelileo bus overturned in Totoras in Ambato, Tungurahua ayer. After passing a curve, the bus perdió pista (lost track – your phrase for the day – it went off the road), hit the median strip, took out a light pole and some trees, and overturned. 8 people were injured, treated, and taken to hospital. This accident follows one on 11/12 in the Huambi sector of Sucúa in which 25 people were injured and 18 killed. Again the bus went off the road, crashed and overturned.
In Cuenca, there were 3 accidents involving buses al pasado lunes. The first was on the Panamericana Sur in the Y de Tarqui sector where a Cooperativa Girón bus and a private car crashed resulting in 2 injuries and 1 death. The second was on the Panamericana Norte in the Guangarcucho sector. It was also between a bus and a small car leaving 2 occupants of the car injured. The last accident was on Gaspar Sangurima y General Torres when an urban bus hit a house. There were 3 injuries. <And it’s time for another round of training for bus drivers and stronger sanctions. Although some of those bus drivers may now be hiding out in Peru or Colombia. I don’t think bus drivers make enough money to hide out in Miami.>
Fiestas de Navidad y Fin de Año de nuevo con varias restricciones (Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays again with several restrictions) – For the second year in a row, Ecuadorians will be living with restrictions on Christmas and end of year celebrations. Ayer, the COE decided to limit capacities for certain activities and prohibit public fiestas. These measures were adopted in the light of the increase of Covid cases in the country. Prohibited activities include concerts <I think some previously scheduled concerts will still be allowed>, Niño parades, processions, novenas in public spaces, años viejos festivals, burning año viejos, popular fiestas, verbenas, dances, and events in the barrios.
Capacities will be limited to 50% in convention centers, event halls, restaurants, bars, discoteques, and centros de tolerencia (brothels?). There will be 75% capacity limits in mercados and supermarkets, centros comerciales (shopping centers), churches and other religious sites, entrepreneurship fairs, and beaches (which are restricted to hours from 6.18:00). These restrictions will apply starting midnight, el viernes 17/12 and run until lunes, 3/1.
The COE is calling for municipalities to guarantee compliance with these prohibitions, and to impede activities that generate crowds. In order to attend events with reduced capacities, organizers are obligated to ask for vaccination certificates from everyone over 12 years old. The president of the COE anticipates that the new rules regarding the requirement of vaccination certificates will be known tomorrow, but anticipated that there will be an obligation to present the certificate to participate in non-essential services and activities. Exceptions will be the right to work, to health, and to education. Going to non-essential destinations such as restaurants bars, discos, brothels, and shopping centers will need a vaccine certificate.
These actions started by the Government are in response to the gradual increase in Covid cases following the feriado de Finados (All Souls Day) and the Independencia de Cuenca. Health Vice-minister José Rúales, said cases increased in the last 4 weeks from 1,294 to 2,918 in the last week. The rate of positive tests also increase from 4.3% to 15%, with deaths increasing from 11 to 23 per week. Most of these were found in Pichincha, Guayas, Manabí and El Oro. What worries authorities is the number of infections per population which is highest in Morona Santiago, Napo and Cañar Provinces which also have the lowest percentage of people vaccinated.
In Cuenca and Azuay Province, officials say they are awaiting more information from the government about the new restrictions, especially regarding vaccine requirements.
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –