More people in the streets, Taxis install dividers, Mentally ill Covid patient escapes hospital, Voting alternatives considered, Market reopens

May 6, 2020 | 41 comments

Martes, 5/5/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada

Otras cosas –

Titular – Joyería y calzado, comercios a la baja (Jewelry and footwear, shops on the downside) – The health emergency is affecting the economies of eastern cantons such as Gualaceo, a shoe making center, and Chordeleg, “cuna” (cradle – your word for the day) for jewelry.

Huida y desorden (Escape and disorder) – A COVID-19 patient escaped from the Vicente Corral Moscoso regional hospital yesterday. <The accompanying photo shows him sitting on the sidewalk, in his bata (hospital gown) and barefoot, next to an ambulance and health worker in protective gear.> This marked the start of the red phase – very little respect from the citizenry. The 57 year old man had been released 2 days ago, but his family asked for more time to prepare the house for his quarantine. While the area in which he was hospitalized was being cleaned, the patient fled and went on foot towards El Vergel armed with a piece of wood. At some point, probably from exhaustion, he sat down on the sidewalk, and stayed there for 3 hours until medical personnel and family convinced him to get into the ambulance to be taken home. Doctors indicated that he had mental problems that had nothing to do with the virus. The area was disinfected after the incident.

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People in the streets – In spite of the restrictions, the start of the week came with more people in the streets, more stores open and more informal vendors working. <People are starting to obey the demands of their wallets more than the demands of authorities.> The ministro de Inclusión Económica y Social (MIES) said that at personal discretion and statistics from the MSP, Cuenca is ready to go to the yellow phase. Small businesses, the pres. of the Cámara de Comercio, and the leader of the Federación de Artesanos del Azuay, all voiced their readiness to reopen for business.

The fine for not social distancing while waiting in line is $100.

COVID-19 statistics – 70 patients have been discharged from the Cuenca regional and IESS hospitals into home quarantine. There are a total of 103 recovered patients in Cuenca and 482 positive cases as of lunes. In Azuay, there are 569 cases with 20 each in the Paute and Gualaceo cantons, 14 each in Santa Isabel y Sígsig, 7 in Camilo Ponce Enríquez, 4 in Sevilla de Oro, 3 each in Nabón y Guachapala, and 2 in Girón. In Zone 6, there are 1,037 cases with 389 in Cañar and 79 in Morona Santiago.

Ecuador vs. Sweden – <Now I have a question about news articles. Why is Sweden always presented as taking an interesting (and/or successful approach) while Ecuador is presented as an epicenter of uncontrolled contagion? I pulled numbers off the first Google result for COVID cases by country and here is what I found.
Ecuador – Population: 17.1 million; Total cases: 31,881; Active cases: 26,879; Deaths: 1,569; Deaths per million population: 89; Total tests: 80,171
Sweden – Population: 10.2 million (60% of Ecuador); Total cases: 23,216; Active cases: 16,288; Deaths: 2,854; Deaths per million pop.: 283; Total tests: 148,500
If you pull the 2,278,691 people who live in Guayaquil out of these statistics, the rest of Ecuador’s control of this pandemic starts to look pretty darn good. I guess the success is the Swedes kept business running.>

Voting – the CNE met virtually el lunes to talk about the methodology for voting in the coming election to evitar (prevent – another word for the day) potential infections. The idea of segmented voting with different voting days for men, women, seniors, youth between 16 & 17, foreigners, disabled, police and military is gaining strength. <Given the state of postal service here, I imagine voting by mail was taken off the table early if it was even presented.>

Fines – There is a municipal ordinance in Cuenca that establishes a fine of $100 for people who do not wear a mask or facial protection that covers the nose and mouth when out in public. The same fine applies to people who do not maintain a distance of 2 meters when in lines waiting to buy goods or services, or when providing the same.

Open air exercise – The social distance of 2 meters is not trustworthy for physical activity during exercise or sports. <The only sport I can think of that wouldn’t routinely violate social distancing is tennis and maybe golf if there were no caddies. I’m sure you athletes can think of more.> According to a study by two universities in Belgium and Holland, depending on the energy expended, proper distancing could be from 3 to 30 meters.

Internacional award – Tomás Rodas y Juan Marcelo Vidal of Ecompake were recognized as one of the best ecological businesses in the region with an award from Latinoamérica Verde. They make biodegradable and reusable dishes as an alternate to plastic. The pieces will resist up to 180 C. for 45 min. in a conventional oven, or up to 4 min. in a microwave. They are made of broken up palm fronds which are useless for palm producers.

Taxi cabins – Taxi owners are installing dividers between the front and rear seats to protect the drivers from catching the virus. <When things get back to normal, if these things are impact or bullet proof, they might also protect the drivers from delinquents.> The dividers are a response to the increased hours for taxis who will be transporting doctors, police, military, and ECU911 workers who will also get a 30% discount after 14:00. Depending on the installer, materials used, and driver’s requirements, the dividers can cost from $30 <Probably not bullet proof.> to $200 and take 2 days to install. They can also be disassembled to clean the taxi.

El Arenal – The largest market in Cuenca reopened at 8:00 Tuesday morning. Access for the public will be through 4 entrances, controlled by the Guardia Ciudadana and Policía Nacional. The return of the vendors will be gradual and start with sellers of
productos de primera necesidad (products for basic needs) who have medical certificates showing they are not infected with coronavirus. It is predicted that there will be 200 wholesalers and 800 retailers in marked stalls. Paths that comply with social distancing are painted on the floors. Commerce in the Feria Libre is still suspended until further notice. <Or until merchants just start opening up their stores.>

Parcel service – the Viajeros International cooperativa has reopened service for parcel delivery between Cuenca y Loja. The operator has adapted a special location at their headquarters on Primero de Mayo near av. de Las Américas to receive packages from 7-13:00. Clients must be masked <but not armed.>.

Mental health – The Universidad Católica has a program to support the mental health of medical professionals who are treating coronavirus patients. 7 psychologists are offering free psychological first aid to listen to the people treating patients. You can call 098 198 1904 for more info.

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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