The Community faces a millionaire expense to fight the virus

The Community faces a millionaire expense to fight the virus

Dvd991 (03/02/20) Coronavirus in Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid Photo: Victor Sainz

The Community will face a million dollar investment to combat the coronavirus CoV-2, according to government sources. After seeing how the number of people affected grew until 89 yesterday, the Executive has hired 50 people in the field of care, assumes that it will have to renew and increase the 1,300 contracts of health workers signed by the flu campaign – which cost about eight million and expire at the end of the month—, and advances that will employ more nurses, cleaning and customer service staff. The PSOE and the unions demand an extraordinary budget to expand the templates.

Enrique Ruiz Escudero, Minister of Health of the Community of Madrid, met on Monday with the health spokesmen of the six parties represented in the Assembly. From that date, everyone left convinced that the Community faces an unforeseen millionaire expense – and still not quantified, according to government sources – to try to stop the spread of the virus.

“The situation requires that the Governing Council enable an extraordinary credit for health, with the objective of dealing with guarantees to this crisis and to provide facilities to quickly hire all necessary personnel,” says Jose Manuel Freire, regional deputy of the PSOE and former Minister of Health of the Basque Country.

“We are asking that the contract of those hired for the flu campaign be extended in all centers,” said Fernando Hontangas, of the CSIF union, which represents the officials. “In the majority it has already been done, but not in all, and it is important, above all, because there will still be people in quarantine, it is inevitable, and they will probably have to hire more.”

After the first 10 days have elapsed since Madrid made a positive for the virus, and after regretting yesterday the first death in the region of a 99-year-old woman, the Government still has room to deal with the situation with the counseling funds —8,000 million, 40% of the Budget; may finance – if necessary – the effort to control the crisis by enabling additional credits through the Ministry of Finance; and will have the option of going to the state contingency fund for additional funding, according to government sources. What is the situation now?

“The number of cases is growing day by day too quickly,” said the Minister of Health yesterday. “It’s a pandemic that had never occurred,” he continued. “That implies decisions that must be taken with day-to-day and long-term vision,” he added. “Surely we will live more complicated situations than now.”

In the short term, the Community has already made fifty contracts in the field of care, and assumes that it will have to renew and increase the 1,300 contracts of health workers signed by the flu campaign – instead of the 3,138 promised, according to data from CC OO—. In addition, it will employ more nursing, cleaning and user care staff at the Madrid Social Assistance Agency, which has seen how one of its residences became the focus of contagion of more than a dozen people.

In parallel, efforts are focused on guaranteeing the supply of masks, gowns and other protective material, in addition to the reagents necessary for the analyzes.

The most expensive measures, however, will be taken in the long term. According to sources from the Executive, the Government has a strategic plan to reserve intensive care plants and hospital areas for those infected by CoV-2, as it began yesterday at the ICU of the La Paz hospital.

“That, especially intensive care units, is the most expensive,” acknowledged sources with knowledge of the plans of the Ministry of Health, where they know that such beds can cost 9,000 euros per unit.

Report to the Government

On Wednesday, Ruiz Escudero presented a report on the expansion of the coronavirus before the Governing Council, chaired by Diaz Ayuso. There he recalled that 80% of cases are mild, 15% require hospitalization and 5% are considered critical.

Predictably, the number of people infected in the region will reach 100 today: the Community Government yesterday recognized 89 cases, to which 50 samples collected during the morning were added at the homes of those affected, and another 54 to be collected.

The progression of the disease led yesterday to the Gregorio Maranon hospital to announce that the access of the companions to the Emergency Department will be limited, as well as the visiting hours in the ICU. The decision is in tune with the Government’s plans: health professionals must be protected, and new contracts must be invested with which to strengthen the templates, to defend the first line of battle against the virus.


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