Yucatan stays in ‘orange’ as restaurants ordered to pull back

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Coronavirus indicators were mainly positive Thursday, but an unchanged positivity rate kept Yucatan at the “orange” traffic light.

Yucatan remains under the “orange” warning light and restaurants were ordered to close their dining rooms under updated coronavirus contingencies.

Health Secretary Mauricio Sauri Vivas, in Thursday’s SSY briefing, said that Merida alone surpassed 9,000 coronavirus infections, representing 55% of Yucatan’s cases. In the past 24 hours, 176 new cases were detected, outnumbering 118 recoveries.

Area restaurateurs said that they were under state health department orders to stop serving indoors and end liquor sales between Sept. 12 and 15. Home deliveries were still allowed, but business owners widely complained of being unfairly singled out. At least one said they would be forced to discard fresh food under the surprise lockdown.

“How we are supposed to manage and plan is sometimes beyond me. But we do what we can do,” said Sean Hennessy, owner of Hennessy’s Irish Pub, writing on Facebook.

The measure fueled rumors of a new “ley seca,” a statewide ban on alcohol, which has been on and off here since April.

Public transportation rules were also revised. As of Sunday, bus passengers will be allowed to travel seated on all benches, with physical barriers between the seats. Passengers will not be allowed to travel standing in the aisle, said Aref Karam Esposito, Merida’s director of urban mobility.

Deaths and infections

Eight deaths were attributed to COVID-19 and hospitalizations were down by nine.

But despite favorable hospital occupancy data, an unimproved positivity rate of 53.5% was worrying enough to keep Yucatan at the second-highest state of alert. Yucatan has a chance to advance to a more relaxed “yellow” light in 14 days.

Thursday’s new cases included 83 in Merida, 16 in Valladolid, 13 in Tizimín, 11 in Chemax, nine in Progreso, eight in Peto, seven in San Felipe and Tinum; three in Panabá, two in Kanasín, Oxkutzcab, Tinum and Umán; and one in Abalá, Akil, Celestún, Dzan, Hunucmá, Izamal, Kaua, Sacalum, Santa Elena, Temozón, and Yaxkabá.

This brings to 16,355 coronavirus cases in Yucatan since March. Around 79% have recovered but 2,153 have died, according to official records that most likely represent a severe undercount.

Six men and two women, between 45 and 74 years old, died. Fatalities also tend to involve hypertension, diabetes, obesity or chronic kidney failure, health authorities said.

Four who perished resided in Mérida, and one each in Abalá, in Izamal, Kaua and Tinum.

Current patients include 843 in stable condition and 294 under hospital care. They range from a month to 99 years old.

Indicators released Thursday:

  • Percentage of total intensive care occupancy with COVID and non-COVID patients: 32.4%, in YELLOW and decreasing
  • Percentage of occupancy of total hospital beds with COVID and non-COVID patients: 44.7%, in YELLOW and decreasing
  • Change in hospital admissions compared to the previous period: -40%, in GREEN and decreasing
  • Rate of contagiousness: 1.06, in YELLOW and decreasing
  • Case positivity: 53.5%, in RED and unchanged
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