SANTIAGO – Caretaker infects six seniors with the coronavirus in a retirement home in Puente Alto. 96 senior residents of the home are being tested and will be sent to secure locations. The Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich attempted to visit the retirement home, but was forced to leave after being confronted by protesters.
The retirement home Hogar Eleam, situated in Puente Alto, had an outbreak of coronavirus due to a caretaker that was carrying the virus. Six senior citizens tested positive with the virus and were taken to the Sótero del Río Hospital to receive further treatment, one of them died during the weekend.
Medical experts headed to the location in order to test the remaining senior citizens. Over sixty residents of the retirement home will be transferred to a hotel, while the ones in need of special care will go to different locations.
Caretaker Unknowingly Infects
The virus the caretaker was carrying was discovered after two senior citizens had died from multi-system failure. After their deaths, the mayor of Puente Alto Germán Codina demanded that all workers of the retirement homes would undergo a coronavirus test. These tests discarded coronavirus as a cause of death of the two senior citizens.
However, the tests did reveal that a caretaker was a COVID-19 carrier, which unknowingly infected six senior citizens. One of them died during the weekend. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Health, which pointed out that retirement homes have been closed to all visitors since Mar. 19.
However, as results came in late, the caretaker continued to work until results showed she carried Covid-19. Mayor Codina said “I’m worried about the slow process of testing in the public health sector. Exams take weeks and this prevents us from taking immediate action.”
When the Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich attempted to visit the location along with the mayor, they were met with hostility by locals and family members, forcing them to leave the location.
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Expansion of the Quarantine Zone
Puente Alto mayor Germán Codina said that this situation showed the necessity of expanding the quarantine zone that currently contains 7 municipalities in the capital of Santiago. He also mentioned the large agglomerations of people that occur in public transportation. He was supported by La Florida mayor Rodolfo Carter, who also calls for a region wide quarantine.
The mayors of Peñalolen, Carolina Leitao, and La Reina, José Manuel Palacios, are already preparing their municipalities for a possible quarantine, as their districts, with high numbers of senior citizens, lie close to the quarantine zone.