Colombia’s health ministry reported a surge in COVID-19 related deaths on Thursday after the saturation of hospitals in the country’s largest cities.
The health ministry said 315 people died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of registered deaths since March to 7,688.
Because people who died at home are not tested, the real number of deaths is likely to be higher.
Confirmed COVID-19 deaths
Source: National Health Institute
According to the Health Ministry, more than 27% of the 28,434 tests that were returned in the 24 hours before the daily report came back positive for COVID-19.
Testing capacity maxed out
The mayor of Cali, one of the cities where hospitals have been saturated, announced criminal charges against the private health intermediaries, claiming they take two weeks to return tests, making them entirely useless.
On average, the national laboratory network of the National Health Institute, need 10 days to return test results, newspaper El Tiempo reported.
Vice-Minister of Health Luis Alexander Moscoso told Blu Radio health authorities would stop doing tests on confirmed COVID-19 patients and presume they are infected unless they prove healthy after two weeks.
The Health Ministry has wasted countless tests on confirmed patients to present recovery rates unlike other countries that consider a COVID-19 patient cured after presenting no more symptoms for a period of two weeks.
The healthcare collapse that doesn’t exist
The situation is most critical in the capital Bogota, which reached a total of 74,599 confirmed infections on Thursday. A quarter of confirmed COVID-19 deaths fell in the capital, a city of 7 million.
Healthcare in Medellin, the country’s second largest city, has also collapsed and hospitals are unable to treat patients in a timely manner.
The healthcare collapses are creating major tensions between the medical community and government institutions, and between mayors, governors and the national government.