HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 20 (ACN) Since Monday night, an antigen test began to be applied in polyclinics and hospitals of the capital to patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
Each center of this type has the resources to apply the test and use the results to rule out infection, as reported Tuesday in the meeting of the Provincial Defense Council (CDP), also attended by Division General (r) and Civil Defense head Ramón Pardo Guerra.
In this way, cases in which the test is negative will be referred to hospitals devoted to the care of respiratory diseases other than COVID-19, whereas those who test positive will be moved to isolation centers and submitted to the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) assay before a final diagnosis is decided.
PDC authorities stressed the need to provide sufficient capacity in this type of facility to deal with potential cases, although it is expected that the antigen test will make it possible to reduce the number of suspects by about 50 percent.
In this regard, Havana Government program coordinator Tatiana Viera Hernández said that nine of these centers are already operational and prepared with a total of 2,036 beds, of which 566 are occupied at this time, and also highlighted that—as of this Tuesday—Health professionals in direct contact with COVID-19 (red zone) infected people will start working as in the previous stage: in two-week shifts by crews that at the end of that time must be quarantined.
The need was also emphasized to improve the identification process of travelers whose eventual households fail to meet the mandatory requirements of isolation and need therefore alternate lodgings.
Havana confirmed 83 cases of the disease scattered throughout all its municipalities. Provincial Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology director Yadira Olivera remarked that two local community transmission events are still active (the one in the municipality of Old Havana is expected to be closed) and further restrictive measures for 706 existing outbreak controls. As to hospital beds, the present occupancy rate is 78.5 percent. The city reached today one of the largest number of patients reported as critical (seven) while another 12 remain in a serious condition. The overall ICU occupancy reaches 42.3 percent.
Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar and Reinaldo García Zapata, CDP president and vice-president, respectively, insisted on the integral approach under which all actions to confront the COVID-19 should be governed and called again to work with scientific rigor and responsibility based on the humanist sense of the Revolution, confident of and faithful to the protocols and the experience gained in these 10 months of the fight against the pandemic.