“In Barranquilla the networks made believe that the virus did not exist”

In the framework of the accountability of the Ministry of Health and before the question of EL HERALDO about the attention of the coronavirus pandemic in Barranquilla and Atlántico, which are among the territorial entities with the highest infections, the Vice Minister of Health, Luis Alexander Moscoso , warned this Tuesday that work is carried out on several fronts to strengthen hospital capacity, diagnostic capacity and, above all, to avoid contagion.

“In Barranquilla, since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health has been structuring a care plan with the territorial entities to strengthen the hospital infrastructure, and Barranquilla thus placed more than 250 new ICUs in a short time. And the part of the ICUs is important but the most important is to avoid contagion. In Barranquilla and the Atlantic an unfortunate topic has been generated, which is a number of messages from social networks that led citizens to believe that COVID did not exist, and exists, is present. Then distort this issue, work hard with each of the communities teaching what the disease is, teaching how to prevent it, those more than 30 protocols of the way of life, “said the official.

However, Moscoso recognized that “when the disease grows, this is not enough, so we have been working with Barranquilla on area fences, focused, then broader fences; in strengthening the diagnostic capacity: Barranquilla has several laboratories that process PCR but also serological, and a whole capacity to strengthen human talent, Barranquilla has been adopting a whole series of capacities that have allowed it to face an increasing and exponential phase of the disease today. “

Likewise, the Health Minister, Fernando Ruiz, in response to a question from former President and Senator Álvaro Uribe, from the Democratic Center, referred to the situation in Lorica, Córdoba, in the face of the health emergency: “In Lorica we have a whole plan of contingency that includes the provision of ventilators, and we are reviewing the affectation of the pandemic, especially to the San Vicente de Paúl hospital, increasing its capacity. These days we will go to Córdoba and Sucre to be able to have comprehensive work with them. “


The head of the Health portfolio highlighted during the balance of the entity’s management that during 2019 and so far in 2020, with the action of Supersalud, “We are moving forward in the purification of EPS. We transferred 2.6 million members to other EPS, allowing Colombians to have better services and maintain coverage. “

Faced with efficiency in spending, Ruiz reported that the General Budget of the Nation 2020 for the Health sector was increased by more than 8% and for the Final Point Agreement, payments of $ 1.5 billion were made.

The pandemic

Most of the accountability, unsurprisingly, focused on actions taken to deal with the coronavirus emergency. In this sense, the minister recalled that Colombia was one of the Latin American countries that developed earlier actions against COVID-19, which has implied a response action that started from the declaration of sanitary emergency on March 18 of this year.

“The appearance of COVID-19 in Colombia, on March 6, 2020, led us to establish a series of actions in response to the very important challenge that this pandemic has represented. The response strategy has required monitoring, evaluation and decision-making actionssuch as the declaration of the health emergency, the creation of a strategic committee and the development of Unified Command Posts in the territories, “said the official.

He also highlighted the country’s indicators related to the level of contagion and mortality: “Our COVID-19 Reproduction Rate is currently at 1.19. It is an important achievement that we have maintained, based on quarantine measures and after the flexible opening of some sectors. “

Colombia, according to a statement released later by the Ministry, “has had a flattened behavior” of 1,803.53 cases per million inhabitants, below countries in the region such as Chile, where it is 14,227.82; Brazil (6,323.61) or Ecuador (3,131.83).

Regarding deaths per million inhabitants Colombia is located at a rate of 3,106, below Mexico where it is 26,648; Chile (5,509) or Ecuador (4,429), sAccording to sources of the University of Oxford with cut to June 29.

Laboratories, ICUs, ventilators

Regarding the adaptation of laboratories for diagnosis, Ruiz noted that in February 2020, Colombia had a laboratory to carry out COVID-19 tests: “Today we have 81 and we have achieved it in just three months. This has allowed us to go from 600 tests to 18,000 tests daily and we have reached 743,437 PCR tests processed to date, “said Deputy Minister Moscoso.

For this, adds the statement, more than $ 14 billion has been allocated for seven public health laboratories in Antioquia, Arauca, Atlántico, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Valle del Cauca and Bogotá; another $ 7,101 million for the national laboratory of the National Institute of Health for supplies, reagents and equipment; and $ 21,000 million for public health surveillance in 37 territorial entities.

In front of the UCI numbers, the vice minister specified that “Colombia currently has 42,890 adult hospital beds, 3,688 intermediate care beds and 6,960 intensive care beds. Our goal is to consolidate 10 thousand ICU beds for the care of COVID-19 “.

And in relation to ventilators, Moscoso assured that the health portfolio has made direct purchases of $ 2,767 million for the acquisition of ventilators destined for the attention of the pandemic. “These are being distributed equitably, depending on the needs of each territory. The Ministry aims to have 2,767 fans in total, of which 410 have been delivered in Atlántico, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Ciénaga (Magdalena), La Guajira, Magdalena and Maicao (La Guajira), among others. It is expected that 1,558 fans will arrive in July, in August 687, in September 60 and in October 52 “.


Minister Ruiz Gómez stressed, on the other hand, that Already US $ 3.5 million has been received through donations.

“I want to emphasize that we have had donations from many entities and governments from other countries, which so far add up to this important sum and that they are additional resources for the attention of COVID-19,” he said.

They are resources from governments of the international community, national private companies, the public sector, multinationals, organizations, among other organisms that allow to attend different fronts such as human resources, supplies and medicines, personal protection elements (PPE), hospital beds, ventilators. and other elements necessary for the care of COVID-19 patients.

Other diseases

“The National Government continues to work to treat diseases other than COVID-19, but due to the situation, we have had to cover them through other modalities such as telemedicine and virtual assistance,” Moscoso explained.

The Ministry reported in this regard that health care has increased from alternatives such as teleconsultation, going from 337,415 in March to 2,803,229 in April.

Meanwhile in health guidelines it has gone from 193,724 in March to 3,998,032 in April.


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