Hola, Todos –
Esperan “semanas críticas” (Expecting “critical weeks”) – In the first week of 2022, 11,372 new cases were confirmed – evidence that infections are increasing. In the middle of diciembre, 2021, there were 4,800 new cases, and in the last week of dic., there were 7,500. Health minister Ximena Garzón said the increase coincides with the arrival of ómicron in the country and the Fin de Año festivities, and she is expecting a jump in cases in the next couple of weeks because 15/1 is 15 days after 31/12 with all of its parties. This new variant is showing its transmissibility in test results. Of the 15,000 antigen tests given, 53% were positive, and of the PCR tests, 38% were positive. The prior average was less than 10%.
Viceminister of Health, Patricio Rúales, said that after 14/12/2021 when the first ómicron case was discovered in Ecuador, there was an outbreak in cases similar to mayo, 2021. In the first week of 2021, there were an average of 1,500-2,000 cases a day and in just one day last week, there were 2,567 which is a new record. All provinces have an increase in cases topped by Pichincha and Guayas. The provinces most affected in terms of mortality are Guayas, Pichincha, Azuay, Manabí and El Oro, although the numbers remain low compared to earlier surges.
Occupancy of hospital beds has not reached its maximum capacity, a sign to authorities that the vaccine plan is successful. Minister Garzón said the majority of those infected are not experiencing health complications. Of those who reach critical levels or die, 80% are either unvaccinated or haven’t completed the vaccination schedule. Currently 41%, or 609, of the 1,375 hospital beds in the country are occupied. There are 32 patients in the the 97 intermediate care beds (37%), and 304 in the 473 available ICU beds (67%). Garzón said that once occupancy reaches 80%, the number of beds will be increased.
Aumentan ventanillas para validación de certificados (Certificate validation windows have been increased) – The Hospital de Especialidades José Carrasco Arteaga has added windows to speed up the process for clients to submit documentation to validate medical certificates from private doctors who are recommmending their patients rest for 4 or more days. Certificates for resting less than 4 days can be done on www.iess.gob.ec. <So if you have Covid, are sick, or broke both legs, you need to go to the window so you can verify that you need to take time off work?> The same paperwork will let the IESS affiliate get a monetary subsidy. <Now that might be worth dragging yourself out of bed to to stand in a line.>
Aplican sanción por aglomeración (Penalty for overcrowding) – The administrative office of the Mall del Río shopping center has been closed for 15 days to sanction it for the event in which 2 Tiktokers attracted a large crowd. Andrés Vicuña, head of the Quartermasters office of the police in Azuay, said that Tiktok was also fined for this infraction. Juan Fernando Cordero, a representative of the mall, apologized and clarified that the capacity for the mall had not been exceeded. What happened is that many people collected in the area where the Tiktokers were, thus creating the overcrowding. He said that the mall is not organizing this type of events at this time. <Like no Christmas carol concert in 2021?> He did not explain why the mall set up a stage for the influencers.
44 detenidos salieron de la cárcel de Turi (44 detainees released from the Turi prison) – 44 prisoners were released from the prison in Turi, most of them because of prison benefits offered by the National Government. A total of 162 were released in Azuay, Cotopaxi, Guayas and Manabí. The National Government has a plan to standardize the process for access to prison benefits or changes to the system to reduce overcrowding.
Historia oculta en el “Febres” (Hidden history at “Febres”) – Vestiges of Cuenca del antaño (cuenca of yesteryear) have been found under the patio of the Unidad Educativa Febres Cordero which opened on el 12/8/1900 and which is undergoing restoration. Because it was suspected that there might be historical vestiges under the patio, non-invasive studies with a georadar identified anomalies under the earth. When the area was excavated, channels were found that date from the end of the colonial to the beginning of the republican periods. There were walls and material associated with household garbage such as porcelain, glass, and animal bones. <Garbage disposals will probably be the worst thing to happen to archeologists in the 3000’s since they destroy evidence of how rich 20th century humans lived and ate.> Restorer Eddy Chalco has been working on the walls of the school and is exposing murals which were covered with 6-8 layers of paint.
Dan ultimátum a minería ilegal (Illegal mining is given ultimatum) – The Comuna Indígena San Sebastián gave an ultimatum to whoever is practicing illegal mining in land that crosses the río Santa Barbara in Sígsig. The organization gave a deadline of 8 days for illegal miners to totally leave the zone. In the public manifesto, the community asked authorities of the National Government to verify the status of legal mining concessions in the canton. It also warned of the presence of suspicious characters and the possible pollution of the river due to the water changing color. <Flourescent greens and purples are not a good indication that you could eat fish caught in those waters.>
Fredy Quilamaqui, president of the Comuna San Sebastián, said that after 8 days, a cantonal assembly will be called with the community members and citizens of Sígsig to establish what actions to take that will conform with the Constitution, the law, and the traditional administration of justice. <Nettles and water? Or something more serious?> He also criticized that a stretch of the access Curancay-Infiernillos has not been closed and it is mainly used by miners to get to the banks of the río Santa Barbara. He also questioned the delay by the courts in processing the complaint about the pollution of the river.
The Municipio de Sígsig asked the community to coordinate with control entities such as the Government of Azuay, Policía Nacional, and the Army in its actions to stop the mining. <It seems to me that more government meetings won’t stop the mining. Indigenous justice just might be more effective. I think several mining camps, including those run by multinational corporations, have been burned down by fed up local communities. And did someone say that Ecuadorians are a compliant people? I hope the that same someone is not one of the people who complain about Ecuadorian drivers never observing traffic laws.>
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –