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Private hospital ICUs are maxed out; Cuenca competes for World Travel Awards; A ton of cocaine is seized; Post grad doctors go unpaid

Miércoles, 29/7/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
De la pagina cultural –

World Travel Awards – Cuenca has been nominated in 3 categories for the World Travel Awards 2020. It has won in the “Best Destination for Short South American Vacations” category 3 years running and has been nominated again. The other 2 categories are “South America’s Leading Cultural City” and “Leading City in Tourism.” You can vote on https://www.worldtravelawards.com/. The winners of each category will receive a trophy at an awards event in Moscú (Moscow). <I hope the ceremony won’t be in enero. I don’t think most Ecuadorian wardrobes can cope with below zero temperatures, even in Celcius.>

Concert – The Quinteto del Recuerdo will play a concert on line el viernes a las 19:00. They play different genres including tango, milongas and boleros. Tickets available on line at https://url2.cl/y53uh or at La Victoria (Borrero 10-31 y Gran Colombia). For more information, go to https://chat.whatsapp.com/DMW958t3NZar1m1dNA32hkN. <What’s that password or address guarding? Fort Knox?> Cost: $5.00.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Una tonelada de cocaína incuatan (A ton of cocaine seized) – A ton of cocaine worth $30 million was seized in operation “Kanguro” (sic – kangaroo?) in the San Andrés de Chiquintad sector to the north of Cuenca. The drugs were hidden in cargo trucks, possibly headed to the coast for shipment to N. America or Europe. This was one of the largest drug seizures in Cuenca.

Cuenca’s private hospitals are filling up with Covid patients.

Covid patients inundate private hospitals – The 16 beds for critical Covid patients at the hospital Santa Inés are full and Hospital del Río is in similar condition. These are the two largest private hospitals treating Covid patients. Luis Tamayo, medical director at Santa Inés, said that it is desesperante (maddening – your word for the day <and probably how you’re feeling about the past 4 months>) to be unable to treat patients because of lack of space. The hospital feels rushed to buy more ventilators to increase capacity. <And if we don’t do our part, beds will be full even with more ventilators. Kind of like building new freeways that have bumper to bumper traffic the minute they open.> Fernando Arias of Hospital del Río said they are analyzing increasing the intensive care area. In addition, there is a shortage of medical personnel.

According to MSP data, the number of cases in Cuenca reached 2,624 with 51 in critical condition in the public hospitals which are referring patients to either private clinics or hospitals in nearby provinces. The hospital Homero Castanier in Azogues and the centro de salud in La Troncal have available beds. Referrals represent an economic problem for private clinics since the cost of treating Covid patients is very high. Private patients can pay tens of thousands of dollars depending on their treatment.

Postgraduate doctors – 291 postgraduate doctors in Zone 6 have not received their scholarship money for more than 8 months. They work and train <like an internship or residency?> in the hospitales centinela (sentinel hospitals -maybe a front line hospital?) in return for the scholarships which pay from $500-$1200/mo.

Tankers to supply water – The water shut off started today around 8:00 and will last for at least 36 hours. Production at the Planta de Potabilización de Tixán was stopped to connect a new raw water supply main. The affected area is generally anything east of Huayna Cápac and goes as far out as Ochoa Leon, Llacao, El Plateado, Challuabamba, Lagunas del Sol, and El Valle. Froilan Salinas, the director of the Dirección de Gestión de Riesgos (risk Management Department) said there will probably be problems tomorrow in the high zones and that there will be tankers to deliver to houses tomorrow. The Fire Department will help with 3 large tankers. if lines form there will be protocols including wearing masks and distancing.

Work in the Ilimuco sector of Cochpata parish in Nabón – Provincial and local authorities denounced the deterioration and destruction of more than 77,000 sq. meters of forest and protected growth in the watersheds of the ríos León, San Felipe de Oña, and Shincata. The destruction included clearing and grading for 2.64 km of road without environmental studies nor permission from the communities. Marcelo Quizhpe, director of the Gestión Ambiental del Gobierno Provincial, said work “que coincide extrañamente con el corazón de una concesión minera” (strangely coincided with the heart of a mining concession). Also 2.55 km. of water pipe was built between an irrigation canal to an inadequately constructed reservoir in an environmentally sensitive area of high biodiversity. <Whoever did this definitely believes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. I hope it won’t work out that way.>

Daniel Salcedo moved to jail – Salcedo, a key player in the sales of overpriced medical supplies to public hospitals in Guayaquil, was moved from a hospital in Guayaquil to the El Inca prison in Quito. The move has been delayed, first because of death threats, and then after his attorney said Salcedo was suffering from delirium and loss of memory. <Sounds like the basis for a defense.> The 3d delay was for surgery. Salcedo has been injuring himself in order to stay in the hospital including removing his saline tube, his urinary catheter, a tube into his chest, and injuring a graft on his leg. <When this goes to trial, will he be required to pay back all those medical expenses?>

Salcedo has been investigated in the past for overpricing on contracts with the government and he is the owner, along with his brother Noe, of 11 businesses which are being investigated for money laundering. Only 2 of those businesses had any income, but less than $1.7 million in 2 bank accounts. He also owns 2 apartments in the US, 6 properties in Ecuador, and 7 vehicles. The last car he bought was a Toyota Sequoia 4×4 Platinum, using a disability card to avoid duties. He has both business and social ties with the Bucaram family, and Dalo Bucaram Pulley confirmed that Salcedo financed his presidential campaign in 2017. Dalo, his brother, and sister are being investigated for money laundering, embezzlement, and illicit association in the hospital corruption case. After a raid, in which a large quantity of medical supplies was discovered, an investigation into ex-president Abdalá Bucaram was started including investigations into tax fraud, possession of illegal arms, and traffic in heritage assets. Historic figures from the Valdivia culture, taken from the Carondelet Palace, were also found. <I hope none of you voted for any of the Bucaráms.>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne