Guatemala's Health Minister Amelia Flores on Wednesday declared a red alert in the public hospital network due to the increase of COVID-19 infections.
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"The red alert will allow services to prepare and stock up on personnel, supplies, and equipment needed to care for the people. We are fearing a hospital collapse," she stated, explaining that the measure will allow foreseeing massive flow of patients, ensuring oxygen reserves, and updating available beds assigned to COVID-19 patients.
On Monday, Flores warned on the saturation public hospitals, whose services exceed 100 percent of installed capacity.
"We have to be prepared for the worst scenario because COVID-19 cases have shot up exponentially in the last 15 days," the minister warned.
Since March 2020, Guatemala has registered 216,329 COVID-19 cases and 7,309 deaths from the disease. The figures for the third wave of COVID-19 are higher than those registered in July and August 2020, when the first major peak of the disease occurred in the country.
"Last year, we admitted an average of 7 patients per month in our intensive care unit. However, we have hospitalized 18 people in critical condition in the past three weeks," San Juan de Dios Hospital Director Gerardo Hernandez said.
Guatemala has the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Central America, followed by Panama and Honduras.