The Canary Islands Ministry of Health have confirmed a new historical record for daily cases of coronavirus, higher than at any point since the pandemic began. In just 24 hours, the Archipelago has confirmed 6,829 new infections, according to data from the Canary Islands Ministry of Health this Tuesday afternoon.
This further increases severe concerns for our healthcare system with 70,859 cases now being actively monitored, a total of 4,573 more than on Monday. Most of these cases are self-isolating at home, with some sources reporting a growing proportion of the workforce having to isolate either due to a positive test result, or due to known close contact while they wait for a few days in isolation to confirm whether or not they have picked up the infection.
Hospitals across the Islands have started to report an unprecedented influx of covid related patients, adding to the seasonal increases and various other pathologies being treated. The Insular hospital on Gran Canaria currently has four floors enabled for covid patients, with medical staff now warning that they are reaching current capacity.
New infections on Tenerife and Gran Canaria are driving the majority of the increases, however there are concerns on several of the smaller islands also.
The Accumulated Incidence at 7 days (AI7) for the Canary Islands now stands at 1,350.40 cases per 100,000 population and the AI14 is currently 2,453.25 cases per 100,000.
Tenerife today added 3,573 new cases with 35,573 epidemiologically active. More than half of all active cases currently in the Archipelago.
Gran Canaria adds 2,105 more with 24,573 active.
Lanzarote adds 509 new cases with 4,817 epidemiologically active, and Fuerteventura has 336 new cases with 3,860 active.
La Palma has confirmed 255 new positives with 1,618 active. La Gomera reports 35 new cases, with 260 active and El Hierro, adds 28 new positives, with 158 active cases.
To date, a total of 2,889,112 diagnostic tests have been carried out in the Islands, of which 17,502 were carried out on Monday, more than twice the number of clinical tests administered just one day earlier.
In many respects this surge has been somewhat expected, for several reasons. There are large numbers of people simply ignoring some of the most basic guidelines, masks, hand washing, ventilation and social distancing. Healthcare professionals on the front line have been warning for weeks that we are facing unprecedented pressure on the health service. The Canary Islands chief epidemiologist, Amós García Rojas, has described the current surge as “brutal” and others around him have predicted that we would not really know the effects of Omicron until this week. Several have suggested that we will likely reach the peak of the sixth wave over the next few days, but that of course depends on how well the population manages to avoid further contagion.
There is real concern that too few people are taking the situation seriously. Too many seem to be confused by the idea of this current variant (and there will likely be others) “only” causing mild infections, however fail to appreciate that with increased transmissibility we find that those lower percentages of hospitalisations can still translate into really big numbers, particularly in a region like ours, with a fairly small resident population our health service is simply not equipped for a large surge in numbers.
Then of course there are those who simply refuse to believe the scientific advice, because clearly their own knowledge and training trumps anything that might come from an official source. Here on the islands vaccinations have been heralded as one reason we have not seen larger numbers of infections earlier, nevertheless, whatever the facts of the matter, we do know that the doctors we trust to take care of us when we need help most, whether due to coronavirus or any other health issue, are now saying they feel like they may be reaching breaking point, and we are not even through the peak of this wave yet.
This is a time for prudence, calm, kindness and patience while we all try to avoid further restrictions. Nobody wants to go back to lockdowns and shutting down our businesses, but then nobody wants to see a complete collapse of our healthcare services either.
With luck all the nay sayers will get away with deciding to put others at risk, and this will all blow over without further complication, but it is certainly worth taking time for yourself and taking yourself out of the equation when it comes to being at risk or putting others at risk. Take care, of yourself and those around you and avoid anyone who tells you they know better than the current science. This is not a drill.
Edward Timon .:.
Editor – (not an epidemiologist, just a concerned citizen who closely follows the data, and trusts the scientific basis for much of the advice)