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  • Health workers check on COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Lima, Peru, Jan. 7, 2021.

    Health workers check on COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Lima, Peru, Jan. 7, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 January 2021
Opinion

Peruvian authorities acknowledged that only 233 out of 1,546 ICU beds are currently available in their country.

Health authorities in Peru and Ecuador on Thursday reported a surge in demand for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at their hospitals, which suggests that both countries are facing a COVID-19 rebound.

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"We have started counting them on our fingers," Peru's Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti warned, reporting that a group of experts believe the country is experiencing a second wave of contagion.

Hospitals' situation is critical. On January 5, only 233 out of 1,546 beds were available, according to '"Open COVID Peru", a group that analyzes data reported by health authorities. 

"Private clinics are on the verge of collapse. Only state-owned hospitals are sustaining the demand," Open COVID Peru Director Juan Carbajal assured.

On Tuesday, the Ombudsman's Office warned that only 21 ICU beds were available in all of Lima.  

In December, bed occupancy was equivalent to the number that occurred in late May and mid-June, when the country reported the highest peak of the pandemic.

In Ecuador, the epidemiological situation has also worsened. On Thursday, hospitals in Santo Domingo, Ambato, Cuenca, and Ibarra reported that they ran out of beds for seriously ill patients.

"All ICU beds have been occupied since the end of December. Hospitals report an increase from 40 to 94 weekly admissions," Health Ministry stated. 

The 24 ICU beds of the In Tsachilas province are full. So far, 128 patients were moved to hospitals in the neighboring Guayaquil province.

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