Pharmacy and pharmacy supplies in Puerto Rican markets are getting the jump on the virus, but a small percentage of patients in the U.S. territory have contracted the new coronavirus, prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to order urgent supply drops.
The order comes just days after an outbreak of the new virus was reported in Puerto Ricans in two different communities in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
More than 4,000 people have been infected in the first four weeks of this month, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About a quarter of the cases were in the island’s densely populated areas.
Health officials are warning that the new infection rates are alarming, especially in Puerto Rica, the second-largest country in the Caribbean.
“Puerto Rico is the country of the Caribbean,” said Ricardo Lobo, a spokesman for the agency.
“We’ve got to get prepared to deal with the outbreak of this coronaviruses and we have to get it under control.”
Lobo said there is no timeline for when the agency will order supplies for the region, although he said the agency is ready to begin sending supplies to Puerto Rico if it can.
The order comes as Puerto Rican authorities are working with the U of T and other health agencies to combat the spread of the virus.
The CDC is also providing assistance to Puerto Rican authorities, but the agency has limited access to Puerto Rican facilities to help manage the outbreak, according the CDC.
“The Puerto Rican government has taken the initiative to coordinate with the government of the United States and the federal government and is making efforts to make sure that the resources are available to Puerto Rica,” said Lobo.
While Puerto Rico’s outbreak is not the first to hit the Caribbean, it is the first time the U-shaped island nation has experienced an outbreak, said Miguel Angel Lopez, a professor of public health at the University of Puerto Rico-Cuba and co-director of the Puerto Rican Institute for Health and Community Development.
In the past, Puerto Ricos have struggled with the virus as well, but this is different, he said.
“We are the poorest and most under-served region in the Americas, with the poorest health systems, the worst access to care, the lowest number of doctors, and the lowest amount of medical personnel,” Lopez said.
The island nation is still dealing with the death of nearly 2,500 people from the virus so far this year, with more than 1,100 cases reported in hospitals.
In the first five days of July, authorities reported more than 3,600 confirmed cases of the coronaviral virus, including 1,000 deaths, the highest number in the past year.
More than 2,000 Puerto Ricians have tested positive for the virus this year.
The first cases have been recorded in San José, Puerto Rican state.
In a statement, the state health agency said the first case in the state came from a community of about 1,500 residents.
It’s not clear if the second case was from a hospital in the city, which is located in a city known for its tourism and culture.
This is not an isolated outbreak, however.
More cases are expected this week in the small Caribbean island nation of Dominica.
Puertorriqueños state health director Fernando Velázquez said authorities are still working with local health officials to identify all those affected.
Venezuela is facing its own outbreak as well as another related one.
On Saturday, state health officials said the number of cases in Venezuela is about 2,600.
Many of the people infected in Venezuela are in the countryside and in rural areas, where they’re unable to get basic services such as water and sanitation, according Health Minister Luisa Guerra.
There have also been some cases of suspected cases in the capital, Caracas.