Cuenca COE relaxes Covid-19 rules as Omicron cases begin to decline; Local hospitals are still stressed

Jan 31, 2022 | 9 comments

The Cuenca Emergency Operations Committee voted Sunday to allow the reopening of bars, discos, entertainment centers and brothels and to increase the capacity for restaurants and public offices. The COE said that improving Covid-19 pandemic conditions dictated the changes.

Cuenca’s Social Security hospital reports a “modest” increase in Covid-19 admissions and says it is adding beds. (El Mercurio)

Previously under a 30 percent capacity limit, restaurants are now allowed to operate at 50 percent indoor and 75 percent outdoor capacity. In addition, public offices, theaters, gyms, spas, markets and shopping centers are allowed to open to 50 percent capacity.

“As a result of the declining number of Covid-19 infections, we are able to make these changes and hope to make more in the future as circumstances allow,” the COE said in a statement. “We continue to urge the public to observe all health protocols.”

The COE said it continues to urge private businesses, including restaurants, stores and shopping centers, to request vaccination certificates for entry, but said it is no longer mandated.

In a report to the COE, Cuenca’s Health Ministry office said that Covid-19 cases have peaked in the city and should drop rapidly in coming weeks. The Ministry said there is still pressure on hospitals since admissions lag behind new cases by an average of two weeks.

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On Friday, the José Carrasco Arteaga Social Security announced it was adding beds and ICU units to accommodate a “modest” increase in Covid-19 cases. “We are experiencing an increase in cases and we are prepared for more, given the recent spike in Omicron cases,” said hospital director Jorge Luis Ulloa. “For several weeks in November, we had no Covid cases but the new variant has changed that. We now have six patients in our ICU units.”

The three private hospitals in Cuenca that accept Covid patients report a small increase in admissions but say only five patients require ICU care.

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