COVID-19 in Las Tunas

A new positive case for COVID-19 was reported today by the health authorities, so there are 17 in the province, for a rate incidence of 3.2 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- Dr. Diego Julián Álvarez Dopazo, director of the Provincial Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology (CPHEM), referred to 26Digital that is an 87-year-old woman, resident in the health area Mártires de Manatí, from the municipality of Manatí.

The patient was detected as a result of the population study for which her family was randomly selected, without specific criteria, by the Ministry of Public Health. In this northern territory, a survey and real-time PCR were carried out on 15 family nuclei, belonging to three medical offices.

“The patient maintains a good state of health and does not suffer from any chronic pathology that could worsen her prognosis; only cataract that causes a slight loss of vision, but has no physical or mental limitations. Since yesterday, when the confirmation of the result of the Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute arrived, she was transferred to the Holguín hospital where our patients are treated.”

Dopazo points out that the source of contagion has not yet been defined and they are working hard to define it. Around this patient, 35 people were isolated, 13 of them close contacts and the others from the community. They remain under epidemiological surveillance and awaiting the results of the studies that were carried out.

“This is another demonstration of the fact that COVID-19 has a great expression in a frame of the asymptomatic population, and of all that we have insisted on the need to comply with social distancing and hygienic measures. Anyone can be a carrier of the virus,” he assured.

Likewise, the head of the CPHEM pondered the importance of these studies in apparently healthy people to know in-depth the level of circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in each of the provinces.

Currently, in isolation centers are five suspects and 219 contacts of possible patients. Yesterday, two rapid diagnostic tests were carried out for a total of 3,388 and 51 samples for PCR, which now total 2,806. 191,830 people were also investigated, and the seven detected with respiratory symptoms were evaluated by the Primary Health Care, and one was referred for hospitalization.

Since May 12, the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) has been conducting a seroprevalence (antibody) and prevalence study of the COVID-19, in which a representative sample of the entire Cuban population participates. In the case of the province of Las Tunas, the survey covers nine families, residents in health areas of the provincial capital and the municipality of Manatí.

As explained by Ph.D. Luis Carlos Silva, an expert in sampling techniques, who was part of the multidisciplinary group that conceived and designed the research, biological samples will be taken for 63 days from the start on May 12 and will be repeated periodically to the same subjects every 21 days, on three other occasions. Tracking will close on July 24, 2020.

In the first cut, the real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) diagnostic test, one of the most accurate laboratory methods - and one of the most widely used in the world in crises related to infectious diseases - is being used to detect whether a person is infected with the virus or not. In the following, serological tests will also be done.

Dr. Francisco Durán, national director of Hygiene and Epidemiology, stressed at the press conference this morning that this study will detect positive people to isolate them and take control measures. He added that the confirmation of the case in Mantua and the one already mentioned in Manatí corroborates the risks that exist even in the provinces that do not have an evident transmission.