Hola, Todos –
Teletrabajo; siguen clases presenciales (Teleworking; face-to-face classes continue) – Ayer, the Comité de Operaciones de Emergencia (COE) Nacional issued various resolutions in front of the increase of Covid-19 cases in the country. From hoy to el 23/1, government at all levels need to maintain a maximum occupancy of 50%. <I know some of you are asking when does government ever operate at more that 50% capacity anyway?>, and businesses are asked to use the same measure. The MSP reported 68 cases of ómicron in Guayas (33), Pichincha (30), Napo, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and Tungurahua with 1 each.
The COE did not suspend face-to-face classes. María Brown, minister of Education, said that the planned return to 100% in person classes will be maintained with all students in the Sierra and Amazonía going back el 7/2 and students in the Costa on 3/5. Cases of Covid detected in the educational system from 7/6 to 30/12 were only .011% of students. There are 42 active cases and 102 students who have recovered; and with teachers, there are 87 active cases and 115 who have recovered.
Vacunación y testeo son estrategias preventivas (Vaccination and testing as preventive strategies) – Vaccinations and testing are the 2 strategies that will intensify this week ahead of a possible increase in Covid cases in Cuenca. The MSP started innoculating boosters to people 50 years or older who can get them if 5 months have passed since their 2nd doses. All you need to do is go to a centro de salud and show your vaccine certificate. The MSP is continuing to vaccinate those who have not received both doses and those who have not gotten even 1 dose. Azuay is the province with the highest rates of vaccinations with 86% having 1 dose, 85% with 2, and 15% with 3.
Data from the Coordination of the MSP shows 200 new cases in Azuay, Cañar y Morona Santiago. In covid treatment at the hospitals, the “Vicente Corral Moscoso” regional hospital has 3 people in the ICU, and 5 in the clinical area. At the “Jose Carrasco Arteaga” IESS hospital, there are 8 ICU and 8 clinical patients, none of them with covid, which is 100% occupancy.
Parallel with vaccinations, the MSP is providing free antigen testing hoy y mañana at 5 locations: Medisoles 9 de Octubre, 10 de Agosto, 12 de Abril, El Arenal and the Hospital del Niño y la Mujer. Hours are from 9-15:30, and you can also get vaccinated at these locations.
Actividades en planteles educativos (Activities on educational campuses) – With the end of the holidays, some schools have decided to postpone their returns to face-to-face classes. The U. of Cuenca, the Universidad Católica, and the UDA will have virtual classes this week. Some private primary and secondary schools will also not have students return to class to prevent possible contagions. However, public schools will return to the classrooms. Any teacher or student presenting Covid symptoms should not come to class. Capacity limits will be calculated based on 2.25 sq. meters <about 24 sq. feet for those of you who don’t do math or geometry> of space for each student and teacher.
A usar la tecnología para pagar prediales (Use technology to pay property taxes) – Collection of property taxes started on 1/1/2022 and there were long lines of taxpayers at the different payment locations, mainly the Tesorería Municipal (Municipal Treasury). You can avoid the lines and still take advantage of the discounts for early payment at enlinea.cuenca.gob.ec where you can find out what you owe with your cédula number, RUC or clave catastral (cadastral code – like a tax parcel number?). There will be 3 secure payment buttons: Place to Pay, Banco del Austro, y Kushki. Place to Pay accepts credit cards from Diners Club, Discover, Visa Titanium, Visa y Mastercard del Banco de Pichincha. Banco del Austro accepts credit cards – Visa Debit y Mastercard del Banco del Austro. Kushki takes all Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards. You can also use the free “Cuenca En Linea” mobile apps for Android or iPhones. You can also consult or get help from “chatbot” of the Municipio de Cuenca, called “Cuencabot”, or with WhatsApp at 0959783034, or through Telegram, Twitter, or Facebook where you can talk to a person <most probably only in Spanish, but you might luck out and get an English speaker. How can all of you who don’t or won’t speak Spanish stand it? It would be like getting cut off from just about everyone outside of your own little bubble. I guess like I can stand not using social media.> In 2021, about 43,000 citizens made their payments on line. In 2019, barely 4,100 did.
Resultados del plan de Contingencia (Results of the Contingency Plan) – Este lunes, Matías Abad, the governor of Azuay, presented the results of the contingency plan in effect during the holiday season. The operations centered on control of prices, hours, and capacities. One disco and two centers of tolerance were closed for not having operating permits. Consensus was reached with different shopping centers and large stores to ask for vaccine cards to enter. The process of resupplying medicines to different hospitals was also started, especially in the Vicente Corral Moscoso hospital which reached 60% of a full supply. It is hoped that the supply will reach 85% this week. Abad also made a call for people to maintain biosafety measures since we are in some peaks of contagions which should be controlled.
William Egas, deputy commander of the Azuay subzone of the Policía Nacional, said that there were operations during the holidays to control order. He said that were 3 violent deaths during the holidays in 2020, and only 1 in Dec., 2021. The 1,200 anti-crime operations resulted in 30 arrests, and the recovery of 2 stolen motos, and 2 stolen vehicles.
Quince rutas de buses eliminadas en Cuenca (Fifteen bus routes eliminated in Cuenca) – The ANT eliminated 15 routes and 19 frequencies from 19 transportation cooperatives that leave from the Terminal Terrestre in Cuenca. These routes were irregularly assigned during the pandemic without technical studies, and caused a saturation of buses which provoked competition for passengers leading to a high risk of accidents with fatalities. The routes, frequencies and companies were listed in the article. Patricio Picón, president of the Unión de Transporte Interprovincial del Azuay (UCTIPA), announced their support of the decision. For Picón, the consequence of these additional buses were almost daily accidents involving interprovincial buses. He said in Azuay, 19 frequencies were created for operators outside this jurisdiction.
110 accidentes (I don’t really need to translate that, do I?) – Marlon Cevallos, a civil engineer and researcher into transportation planning, said there were at least 100 accidents involving intra and interprovincial buses in 2021. In the second half of the year, there were 50 deaths in accidents on the new routes and frequencies assigned by ANT. He said that when there are too many frequencies on a route, there is an excess of supply which results in transit accidents. <The driver offering the lowest fares is the one who is the drunkest or the most sleep deprived. Is that the guy you want driving you on these twisty mountain roads?>
Vivienda colapsa en Paccha (House collapses in Paccha) – A 97 year old woman was injured when her house collapsed in the Viola barrio in Paccha parish. According to her neighbors, she was standing on a 2nd floor balcony at 7:30 in the morning when the house collapsed so she was thrown off and did not wind up under the debris. She was taken to a hospital with bruises on her back, hip and face. <Truly what my family called a “tough old bird.”> Firefighters brought in machinery to clear the escombros (debris, rubble – your word for the day) and retrieve some of her personal belongings.
10 feriados habrá en el 2022 (10 holidays in 2022) – The holidays will be 1/1, Good Friday, 24/5, 10/8, 9/10, 2 & 3/11, 25/12 and lunes y martes de Carnaval. There will also be independence days for each province and canton or the day they were created. In order to give people 3 or 4 day weekends, many of the actual days off will be moved to the the lunes or viernes of the closest weekend. <Pay attention when the holiday gets close so you don’t wind up trying to do business or go to the bank on the wrong day.
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –