Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Alert for arrest in decrease of new cases in regions with large population

The ICOVID Chile team , an initiative led by the University of Chile , the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the University of Concepción , presented its report number 54 with analysis and data on the dimensions proposed to monitor the pandemic in the country, with information obtained up to on Saturday August 14, 2021, provided through an agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation .

According to the latest weekly report , in the dimension of contagion dynamics , the estimated burden indicator at the national level reached 3.9 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, turning yellow at the ICOVID traffic light. This figure represents “a drop of 10.3% compared to the load of the previous week and 21.4% less than the load of two weeks ago . However, this decrease is once again less than the 12.4% drop experienced the previous week, which maintains the deceleration trend in cargo reduction “, they emphasize in the report.

Meanwhile, at the local level, the regions with the highest estimated loads were Tarapacá (6.8), Arica and Parinacota (5.8), Los Ríos (5.7) and Maule (5). Meanwhile, the Metropolitan , Valparaíso and Biobío regions , with the highest concentration of population, although their estimated burden decreased, did not have significant changes.

On the other hand, at the national level the estimated R rose from 0.88 to 0.90, which means a rise of 2.3% compared to last week, and 5.9% compared to two weeks ago. Of the 16 regions, four have estimated Rs greater than 1 : Aysén (1.2), Magallanes (1.15), Tarapacá (1.02) and Ñuble (1.01); while only three regions show R values ​​estimated to be below 0.8: La Araucanía (0.71), Antofagasta (0.76) and Los Ríos (0.76), it is detailed in the report.

The epidemiologist and academic from the Department of Public Health of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Paula Margozzini , emphasized that “we have made this latest drop in cases the fastest and deepest of all the outbreaks that we have experienced during the pandemic, which is very positive. However, some regions such as Metropolitana and Valparaíso have already stopped decreasing. We cannot forget that one in two Chileans is still not immune to COVID-19, so the possibility of outbreaks is very real . International experience confirms it, when will depend on our conduct. “

Along the same lines, the engineer and vice-rector for Research and Development of the University of Concepción, Andrea Rodríguez , pointed out that “we continue to maintain a drop in the load level, with a decrease of about 10% compared to the previous week, but that shows a slowdown in the previous fall, mainly marked by the greater stability in the number of cases in the most populated regions, that is, the Metropolitan, Valparaíso and Biobío. It is a better moment in terms of positivity and the use of ICU beds due to COVID nationwide, but the transmission indicator is close to 1, which indicates that the situation is not yet fully controlled . “

Regarding the testing dimension , the number of PCR tests per thousand inhabitants (not including antigen tests) registered a new drop , reaching a value of 17.02 for the week of this report. This represents a 2.7% drop from last week, and 1.8% from four weeks ago. At the regional level, with the exception of Tarapacá and Arica and Parinacota, with increases compared to last week of 9.5% and 3.9% respectively, all regions have decreased this indicator, registering the greatest decreases compared to last week in Atacama (10.5%), Magallanes (9.7%) and La Araucanía (7.6%).

On the other hand, the new report highlights that positivity once again maintains its favorable downward trend, reaching a national level of 1.7%, reaching the green color at the ICOVID Chile traffic light, with a decrease of 9.5 % compared to last week, and 53.3% compared to four weeks ago. ” The situation is favorable at the national level, and all regions show positivity in green . Four weeks ago only five regions exhibited positivity in green, and the indicator was yellow at the national level,” say the researchers.

The report also details that the Magallanes Region registered a 40.7% increase in positivity compared to the previous week, reaching 1.0%, accumulating two weeks in a row on the rise. The Arica and Parinacota Region also increased the indicator, with a rise of 3.1% compared to last week. The region with the highest positivity for this week was Los Ríos (2.6%), and the one with the lowest value was Aysén (0.6%).

On the other hand, with regard to the traceability dimension , the early consultation indicator, which calculates the proportion of people who had a medical consultation in two days or less since symptoms began, registered a value of 55% at the national level in the last week with available data. At the regional level, meanwhile, the values ​​range between 89% in Arica and Parinacota and 50% in Aysén. Arica and Parinacota, Ñuble and Magallanes show important improvements compared to the previous week of analysis.

The indicator for examination and laboratory time, which measures the percentage of PCR tests that were reported to the Ministry of Health in one day or less from the date of sample collection, decreased slightly from 82.3 to 80% at the national level, maintaining a clear upward trend in the longer-term analysis (at the end of March its value was close to 55%). The report also details that eight regions are over 80%, turning green at the ICOVID traffic light.

Finally, the indicator of early confirmation of cases , which adds the times of early consultation and laboratory, and is defined as the proportion of suspected symptomatic persons whose PCR test laboratory result is reported to the health authority within three days from the date of date of onset of symptoms, had a value of 55% in the country as a whole in the last available week. “The highest value is registered in Arica and Parinacota with 73%, the only region with a value higher than 70%, which suggests that a traceability and isolation strategy is being achieved in this region that starts in a timely manner”, read in the report.

Regarding the dimension of hospital capacity , the new report shows that the total occupancy of ICU beds due to any pathology for this week reached 83.7% , thus turning orange at the ICOVID traffic light for the first time so far this year . This shows the sustained decline for several consecutive weeks , in particular, with a drop of 7.0% for four weeks, and 2.0% since last week.

However, at the local level, a rise in the indicator is observed in some regions compared to last week: 14.1% in Ñuble and 1.3% in Maule. On the other hand, for the same period, significant decreases were observed in Aysén (28.6%) and Atacama (25.4%). They also note that both the Valparaíso (92.9%) and the Metropolitan (88.0%) regions keep the indicator in red. ” The call is to continue maintaining self-care measures to alleviate hospital capacity, which has been stressed for a very long period, since April 2020, ” say the researchers.

Along these lines, the report shows that the use of ICU beds by patients with COVID also continues with a clear downward trend , decreasing from 36.6% to 32.0% compared to the previous week, showing 12.7% reduction. Meanwhile, at the regional level, the COVID occupation presents great heterogeneity, oscillating between 58.9 and 0% for Arica and Parinacota and Aysén, respectively. Compared with the previous week, all regions show a decrease in COVID patients in their respective ICUs, and the same applies when compared with the values ​​of the indicator from four weeks ago.

For its part, the weekly variation rate in COVID-19 hospitalizations at the national level shows a decrease that continues, although at a slower speed than in previous weeks, going from -14% to -13% towards the end of the week. While, the indicator of average daily hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds according to age shows a decrease in all groups. In this way, the report indicates that the decline in age groups under 50 years has been very marked in recent weeks, and the weekly average (261, 21.9% lower than last week) is now lower than that of corresponds to the number of ICU beds used by adults aged 70 and over (291, 9.1% less than the previous week). The age group between 50 and 69 years also maintains its decrease (15.5% compared to last week), reaching an average of 534 cases.

Mortality from COVID-19 according to age groups , calculated from data from the Department of Health Statistics and Information of the Ministry of Health (DEIS), with laboratory-confirmed and probable figures, shows that in the last week with data available (from August 1 to 7) there were 565 deaths from COVID-19: 38 deaths in the age group 70 and over, 149 deaths in the age group 50 to 69 years, and 34 deaths for those under 50 years of age .

Regarding vaccination coverage, it remains on the rise, particularly in the 18 to 49-year-old group , reaching 88.7% coverage (first dose), and 77.5% (second dose) . In those over 50 years of age, a stable group of laggards persists, representing between 8-10% of that population. In terms of total population coverage, the regions that are over 70% complete vaccination rises from four to six and only two are below 60%.

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