SANTIAGO — Chile has the 14th highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world. The latest Epidemiological Report from the Ministry of Health shows that more than half a million people have contracted the virus. Another report, published Oct. 22 by iCovid Chile, warns that tracing is still insufficient to control the spread of cases.
As of Oct. 22, there are 13,490 active Covid-19 cases in the country. The latest Epidemiological Report from the Epidemiology Department of the Ministry of Health has data through Oct. 18 that shows that the Metropolitan Region remains the one with the highest count of active cases, followed by Biobío and Los Lagos in southern Chile.
The first case of Covid-19 in Chile was reported in March. Since then, an estimated 558,935 people have contracted the virus and 18,429 have died as a result.
A report published Oct. 22 by iCovid Chile – a research initiative promoted by the Catholic University, the University of Chile, and the University of Concepción – concluded that the traceability of cases is “still far from being acceptable.”
According to iCovid Chile, to achieve an effective traceability of cases, the indicator has to be above 80 percent. Currently, it hovers at 52.5 percent. The report recommends early consultations to raise the rate.
Regions and Reproduction Number
A now well-known indicator to measure the spread of Covid-19 is the reproduction number or “R0” – essentially, the number of people to whom a spreader can pass the virus. A pandemic is considered under control when the R0 remains below one.
According to iCovid Chile’s report, the R0 is currently higher than one in 15 of the 16 regions in the country. The regions with the highest R0s are Biobío, O’Higgins, Aysén, and Los Lagos.
Biobío and Los Lagos are especially worrisome to those who worked on the report because those regions’ R0s have remained steady. “Biobío has maintained an R0 higher than one since Oct. 9, and Los Lagos since late September.”
Positivity Rate Improves
Even though the country has a high count of active cases and the R0s remain above one in most regions, the positivity rate has improved in the past weeks. The national positivity rate in the last week was 5.7 percent. This indicator measures the percentage of positive coronavirus tests.
iCovid Chile has four colors to categorize positivity rates. From worst to best the categories are: red, orange, yellow, and green. If a region has higher than 10 percent, the color is red.
According to the report, there are currently only three regions in red: Magallanes, that has a positivity rate of 19 percent, La Araucanía with 11.2 percent, and Aysén with 10.2 percent. As for the rest: nine were assigned orange, four yellow, and only one (Coquimbo) is in the green.
Fernanda Gándara is currently finishing her journalism degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She’s passionate about writing, environmental issues and women empowerment. You can find her on Twitter as @FerGMarchant