Hospitals in Mexico City and neighboring México state are currently treating more coronavirus patients than at any other time of the pandemic, and many are completely full or close to capacity.
There were 4,598 coronavirus patients in Mexico City hospitals on Monday, 45 more than the previous peak recorded on May 22. The occupancy rate across the capital’s health system is 66% but numerous hospitals are at, or very close to, 100% capacity.
Among those that are completely full are the IMSS Villa Coapa and Tlatelolco hospitals and the National Institute of Respiratory Illnesses.
A 69-year-old woman died on Monday after she was unable to access a bed with a ventilator at the La Raza National Medical Center in the capital’s north end. Doña Gabina passed away en route to a provisional medical facility set up at the Hermanos Rodríguez speedway, the newspaper Milenio reported.
In México state, which includes many municipalities that are part of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, there were 2,399 coronavirus patients in hospital on Monday, 115 more than the previous high recorded on June 3. Hospital occupancy in the state has increased more than 30% over the past four weeks.
Statewide occupancy of general care beds is currently 71% while 53% of those with ventilators are in use.
However, several México state healthcare facilities are completely full, including the IMSS hospitals in the Valley of México municipalities of Tlalnepantla and Nezahualcóyotl.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum acknowledged the gravity of the situation in the capital and surrounding metropolitan area, saying that all citizens need to follow the coronavirus rules in place in order to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the number of hospital patients.
“How are we going to achieve it? Only with the participation of everyone,” she told a virtual press conference.
Sheinbaum blamed a recent rise in case numbers and hospitalizations on a relaxation of compliance with coronavirus rules last month, saying that people started holding parties and gathering in large numbers.
The mayor said that there is evidence from other cities around the world that shows that parties were the main factor in case numbers increasing. She urged people to stay at home, keep a safe distance from others and not hold parties.
However, anyone who wishes to hold a party is welcome to do so as far as some Mexico City bars are concerned. The newspaper Milenio contacted four bars on Monday and was able to make reservations for celebrations beginning at 11:00 p.m. on Friday and wrapping up at 5 the next morning.
One of the bars contacted by Milenio said capacity limits were not a problem. “… we’ll adjust the number of tables depending on the number of people who come.”
Bars have been prohibited from opening since November 20. Restaurants are supposed to close at 10 p.m. and alcohol service is not permitted after 7 p.m.
Asked about the possibility of a lockdown, Sheinbaum said that forcing businesses to close would not stop new infections. She highlighted the importance of Covid-19 testing to identify and isolate positive cases and “stop the chain of infections.”
President López Obrador called on Mexicans across the country to stay at home as much as possible during the 10 days leading up to Christmas.
“Everyone has to help – let’s take care of ourselves because in that way we’ll avoid more infections [as well as] the saturation of hospitals. … We’re increasing hospital capacity but we don’t want people to get sick or lose their lives,” he said.
Meanwhile, the nation’s coronavirus case tally and death toll continue to mount.
The federal Health Ministry reported 5,930 new cases on Monday, increasing the accumulated tally to 1,255,974. The Covid-19 death toll rose by 345 to 114,298.
Mexico City and México state rank first and second, respectively, for both confirmed cases and deaths.
The capital has recorded 264,330 cases and 19,084 Covid-19 fatalities while México state’s accumulated case tally is 125,628 and its death toll is 12,769.