In its most recent report, the iCovid platform warned that March 2021 started with the increase in the dynamics of contagion of covid-19, the highest positivity of the last four weeks (8.3%) and the ICU capacities at critical levels, according to official information until Saturday, February 27.
If we talk about the number of new cases, this figure grew 12.6% compared to the previous week, averaging 3,810 new infections daily.
This indicates that the reduction in load experienced during the last four weeks is reversed and in the last week of February a new rise begins to be experienced.
The analysis also shows that all regions remain with the disease burden in red, for over 10 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.
“The five regions with the highest burden of currently infected people in the country, in decreasing order, are Los Ríos, La Araucanía, Bío Bío, Antofagasta and Magallanes, all with a burden of 30 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants ”, they detailed.
Meanwhile, the transmission indicator returned to 1 (going from 0.98 to 1.05), “which reflects an acceleration in the dynamics of contagion consistent with the data reported by the health authority,” they explained from the platform.
This value is greater than 1 in 10 of the 16 regions and all of them, except Tarapacá, Los Lagos and Aysén, have this indicator in red, which means that “each person who contracts the virus infects, on average, more than one person, which means that the epidemic is found again in a state of expansion, “warned the researchers behind the document.
Positivity, traceability and ICU
On the other hand, positivity reached the highest value of the last four weeks, with 8.3% in the last week of February.
Likewise, the report pointed out that the regions with these values at more worrying levels (red color) are La Araucanía (15%), Los Ríos (14%), Tarapacá (12%) and Maule (10%).
Nevertheless, Ñuble and Bío Bío are also concerned with values very close to 10%.
For its part, traceability at the national level showed figures similar to the previous report, with 66% of lab tests reported within 24 hours to the health authority.
57% of positive cases consulted within 48 hours from the onset of symptoms and 45% of the cases took less than 72 hours to be confirmed.
“The great heterogeneity in traceability achievements between regions shows room for improvement in some of them, especially in the south where regions like La Araucanía persist for a long time with difficulties for their early traceability ”, they proposed from iCovid.
Finally, with regard to the dimension of hospital capacity, the report found that the bed occupancy nationwide remains in the red and increasing, going from 91.4% to 92.4% occupancy in the last week of February.
Locally, thirteen regions have critical ICU occupancy (over 85%), six of them with levels greater than or equal to 94%, such as La Araucanía (96%), Antofagasta (96%), Tarapacá (96%), Coquimbo (96%), Valparaíso (96%), the Metropolitan Region (96%) and Magallanes (96%).
“This is very worrying, since hospital occupancy has remained very high and growing in February, reaching 92% ”, lamented Paula Margozzini, epidemiologist and academic at the UC Department of Public Health.
“A greater expansion of ICU beds is required, especially to contain the increase in new infections throughout the population during March and then achieve the highest first-dose vaccination coverage in people over 50 years of age. All of this could help mitigate the expected rise in both the need for beds and mortality, ”said the specialist.
The percentage of ICU bed occupancy with covid-19 patients increased from 56.7% to 58.3% in the last week of February, remaining at a high level (over 50%) since January 20.
A regional variation was also observed, with the highest proportions of ICU bed occupancy in Tarapacá (79.3%), Arica and Parinacota (71%) and Los Lagos (71%).
The lowest ICU occupancy due to covid-19 was found in Atacama, Aysén and Los Ríos.