By Eduardo Simões
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The occupancy rate of beds in intensive care units (ICUs) for the treatment of Covid-19 in Brazil has registered a worsening amid the advance of the highly transmissible variant Ômicron of the coronavirus, according to a bulletin monitoring the pandemic in Brazil. country disclosed this Wednesday by researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).
According to the survey, between January 17th and 24th, the occupancy rate of ICU beds for Covid treatment in the Unified Health System (SUS) increased in 12 Federation Units and in six States – Mato Grosso do Sul , Goiás, Espírito Santo, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Pernambuco – and in the Federal District, the occupancy level is at a critical level, with at least 80% of vacancies being occupied.
Also according to the Fiocruz survey, 12 states are in the intermediate alert zone, when ICU occupancy is between 60% and 79%, –Amazonas, Roraima, Amapá, Pará, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Ceará, Bahia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Paraná.
At the same time, eight states are outside the alert zone, when occupancy is below 60% – Acre, Maranhão, Paraíba, Alagoas, Sergipe. Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
The most critical situation was detected in the Federal District, with 98% of beds occupied. Then come Rio Grande do Norte, with 83% occupancy, Piauí and Goiás with 82% each, Pernambuco with 81% and Mato Grosso do Sul and Espírito Santo with 80%.
The lowest occupancy rates were recorded in Sergipe, with 25%, in Paraíba and Minas Gerais, with 28% each, and in Acre, with 45%. In the other states outside the alert zone, the occupation was greater than 50%.
“It cannot be ignored that the situation is getting worse, although it is clear that the scenario with vaccination is very different from that observed in earlier, more critical moments of the pandemic, in which there were many more beds”, said the researchers from Fiocruz in technical note.
“What arises is that, with the very high transmissibility, even a much smaller proportion of cases leading to ICU admissions incurs expressive numbers”, he added.
The researchers pointed out the importance of vaccination in containing the pandemic, especially the application of a third booster dose of an immunizer. They also highlighted the need to adopt other measures to contain the spread, such as the use of masks and the requirement of proof of vaccination for entry into public places.
“People who have already received the booster dose are less susceptible to these hospitalizations, although severe comorbidities or advanced age can leave them vulnerable. However, there is still a proportion of the population that did not receive the booster and thus becomes more susceptible to more severe forms of infection with Ômicron and, mainly, there is a part of the population that is not vaccinated, much more susceptible”, they pointed out.
“It is essential to make efforts to advance vaccination and control the spread of Covid-19, with the strengthening of the mandatory use of masks and vaccination passports in public places, and campaigns to guide the population on self-isolation at the onset of symptoms, even avoiding intra-household transmission”, concludes the technical note.
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