SANTIAGO – The Health Ministry reported on Friday, July 17, a total death count of 8,347, an increase of more than 1,000 deaths compared with the day before. The increase is due to a change in the way the ministry reports its Covid-19 deaths. Deaths with pending PCR and those who are suspected to have died of the virus are now included.
Once again, the Chilean Health Ministry has changed the way it reports Covid-19 deaths. According to the latest change, the ministry reports deaths as counted by its statistics department, DEIS, meaning that deaths with a pending PCR test and those suspected to have died of Covid-19 are also counted as coronavirus deaths.
Until yesterday, the ministry only reported deaths with a confirmed PCR, while the DEIS issued their report once a week, with a much higher death count, but according to WHO guidelines. The Health Ministry, with the DEIS numbers, will now report twice a week instead of every day.
With the changed methodology, the total rose from 7,290 to 8,347. In the last 24 hours, however, only 98 people died due to the virus. The number of confirmed cases grew by 2,840 to 326,538, meaning that Chile remains the country with most coronavirus infections per million inhabitants of all countries with more than five million inhabitants.
The Health Ministry added that, especially in the Metropolitan region, which, so far, has been the epicenter of the pandemic in Chile, the numbers are declining. On June 14, 5,647 new coronavirus cases were reported in the region, while one month later just 690 new cases were registered.
There are currently approximately 1,800 patients being treated in intensive care units in the region – a drop of 300 patients compared with the number three weeks ago. Experts warn that the number is still 300 percent above the normal number of ICU patients they treat during this time of year.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.