Monday 26th July 2021 – ÁLVARO MONFORT with Mike Smith
The regional health secretary, Ana Barceló, has reported on the current situation with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region to the Permanent Council of Les Corts Valencianes, the main legislative body of the Generalitat Valenciana.
She highlighted the very slight decrease in the spread of the virus throughout the Comunidad Valenciana since the last set of restrictions were imposed in the first half of July, especially in those municipalities where a night curfew was re-imposed. “Despite the increase in recent weeks, we continue to remain 120 points below the Spanish average“.
However, the regional secretary warned that the age groups most affected in this so-called fifth wave of the pandemic are much younger, with the infection spread rate for those in the 20-29 group as high as 1,519 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, whilst the rate for those in the 12-19 years of age just below at 1,324 cases per 100,000.
She explained that the Delta variants of the virus, which is characterized by its rapid rate of transmission, has been responsible for 70% of new positives cases in the Comunidad Valenciana. She added that more than 80% of those cases have occurred in the social sphere, family gatherings and in public spaces, and have affected those who have not been vaccinated in the 20-29 age group.
The regional secretary has considered that the rise in positive cases can be attributed to the rapid deescalation of some of the measures, the arrival of summer, the end of the school year, and the increase in social interaction motivated by the time of the year and the good weather. She explained that “they have caused the perfect storm” and added that “the decisions made by the [regional government] have not been easy due to the impact of daily life and on the economy of the Comunidad Valenciana“.
Current Status of Vaccination and Effects
Barceló said that forecasts are predicting that 70% of the Valencian population over the age of 12 by October 9th will have completed the vaccination process, thanks to the speed at which the healthcare professionals are working. In fact, the vaccination of the age group between 20 and 29 years old has been brought forward by two weeks.
She also emphasized the effectiveness of the vaccine, explaining that “for four months, there have been no deaths from COVID-19 in elderly residential homes in the Valencian region” adding that “vaccines work and provide the tools to combat the virulence of the virus. Thanks to vaccination, we have 586 people who have been hospitalized, compared to 4,777 in January, and 78 patients in ICU, compared to 670 in January”.
The regional health secretary noted that 1.3% of people called for vaccination have rejected the vaccine, either because they don’t want to participate in the process, or because their previous pathologies prevent compatibility. To date, a total of 2.5 million Valencian men and women have completed the vaccination process, whilst 3 million have had at least one administered dose.
She also addressed the question about compensation requested by the Generalitat for those people from outside of the region who have been vaccinated in the Comunidad Valenciana, explaining that the first distribution of vaccines among the autonomous regions was based on the older population of each. “The criterion is going to change to compensate the Comunidad Valenciana, which has a younger population“.