Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: They insist on maintaining self-care and vaccination to delay the advance of the omicron variant

The ICOVID Chile team , an initiative led by the University of Chile , the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the University of Concepción , presented its 67th report with analysis and data on the dimensions proposed to monitor the pandemic in the country, with information obtained up to on Saturday, December 18, 2021 , provided through an agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation.

According to the new report, in the last week observed, the estimated burden of new cases continues to decrease from an average of 1,326 to 1,150 daily cases, reaching an average daily rate of 5.9 per one hundred thousand inhabitants. Despite the fact that most regions decrease or maintain their estimated cases, Antofagasta shows an increase in the last week of analysis.

Meanwhile, the transmission measured based on the R indicator -which represents the average number of people contagious in each case- is 0.89, remaining green at the ICOVID traffic light and significantly under 1.0 in all regions, except of Magellan, in which the indicator is 1.0.

Meanwhile, the positivity decreases to 2.2%, revealing that the highest figure is observed in the Los Lagos region (4.5%). On the other hand, the extreme north of the country and the Metropolitan Region stand out with less positivity with values ​​below 1.5%. The average PCR test, meanwhile, remains close to 18 weekly tests per thousand inhabitants, which is equivalent to 2.6 daily tests per thousand inhabitants. At the local level, the test goes up to figures of 29 per thousand inhabitants in the extreme north and south of the country.

Given the panorama, the engineer and vice-rector for Research and Development of the University of Concepción, Andrea Rodríguez, emphasized that “it is very important to continue accelerating the achievements in booster vaccination and traceability, in order to save time, slow down the progress of the omicron variant and make a possible future outbreak less intense. Preventing the volume and speed of contagion of cases of the new strain from increasing, will attenuate the rise in hospitalizations and deaths and will allow greater recovery of postponed care . “

Along the same lines, Paula Margozzini, epidemiologist and academic from the Public Health Department of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, stressed that “we managed to delay the arrival of Delta and mitigate its impact, now we can do the same with the arrival of omicron. Wearing masks, testing quickly for symptoms and getting vaccinated with all the doses and boosters indicated by the health authority will make it possible to achieve this ” .

In terms of traceability, meanwhile, a continuous improvement is observed, exceeding 63% of cases notified to the health authority within three days of the onset of symptoms. Twelve regions present 60% or more of achievement in this indicator and twelve regions manage to exceed 80% of laboratory confirmation within 24 hours.

On the other hand, with respect to hospital capacity in the last week observed, the report indicates that the national occupation of ICU beds due to any pathology reached 89.9% (red color in the ICOVID traffic light), with little variation in the last four weeks, in which the indicator has oscillated around 90%.

Meanwhile, at the regional level, the highest value of the indicator was observed in Valparaíso (95.5%), being the only region that exceeds 95%. Meanwhile, the lowest value was observed in the Arica and Parinacota region (58.1%).

In global terms, “we report that a total of nine regions have the indicator in red (higher than 85%) at the ICOVID traffic light for this week (one more than in the previous week)” , say the researchers in the report .

Regarding ICU occupancy by patients with covid-19, the report reveals that this week this indicator registered a value of 32%, “also quite stable in the last three weeks, but with an increase of 6.9% compared to four weeks ago ” the report reads.

ICU occupancy graph by patients with covid-19 nationwide:

Meanwhile, at the regional level, and as in the previous week, the indicator exceeded 40% only in three regions: Biobío (52.5%), Los Lagos (48.3%) and Aysén (74.3%) , while the lowest value was registered in the Arica and Parinacota region (14.3%).

Likewise, regarding the weekly variation rate in COVID-19 hospitalizations, an indicator that measures the trend in the daily use of hospital beds of all kinds (basic, intermediate, ICU, ICU) by patients with COVID-19, maintains its trend to the it is down this week, with values ​​hovering around a -7% low. In this way, it has been permanently green at the ICOVID traffic light since mid-November.

“The stability of 90% of hospital occupancy despite the decrease in hospitalizations due to covid-19, can translate into a large and growing hospital burden for causes not associated with covid-19,” emphasize the specialists.

On the other hand, the indicator of average daily hospitalizations of covid-19 patients in ICU beds differentiated by age revealed an increase of 1.1% in hospitalized patients (stock) in the group under 50 years of age (146 average cases). In addition, it showed drops of -3.8% in the group of patients between 50 and 70 years (331 average cases) and -8.8% in the segment of patients older than 70 years (181 average cases).

Finally, regarding the vaccination plan, the report shows that as of December 20, 2021, 83.6% of the 19.6 million Chileans have received at least two doses of the vaccine against covid-19 . At the local level, two regions exceed 90% (O’Higgins 90.1% and Ñuble 91.5%) in this indicator and there are fifteen regions that are above 70% of complete vaccination and three regions exceed 80%. Meanwhile, the lowest coverage is observed in the Metropolitan and Tarapacá regions with 78.7 and 79.4% respectively.

Likewise, the specialists detail that 91.6%, 93.9%, 84.8% and 58.5% of the population greater than or equal to 70, between 50 and 69, between 18 have received at least two doses and 49 and under 18, respectively . In addition, they highlight that in recent weeks the first dose vaccination in children under 18 years has accelerated given the introduction of vaccination to an additional group of children (between 3 and 5 years), and that, on the other hand, they have received a third booster dose 10.1 million Chileans (52%).

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