File photo showing an artificial respirator providing assistance to a patient suffering from COVID-19. (The Associated Press)
Although his condition was not specified, a teenager has been connected to an artificial respirator for COVID-19 since September 15, when the Department of Health reported that the minor had complications in his clinical picture, the agency spokesperson confirmed to El Nuevo Day .
However, the young man has been confined to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for more than two weeks, because it was on September 8 when the agency received the notification.
By provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, in English), Salud cannot provide details about the age or region in which the minor is located, nor can it go into details about their current clinical condition.
However, the president of the College of Surgeons , Víctor Ramos Otero, ruled out that the patient had diseases -common in adults- that have caused the minor to be still in intensive care.
“I can't go into the details because of the HIPAA law, but I didn't have any prior conditions like diabetes or hypertension, those kinds of things that are not adult-like. But yes, this minor has been intubated for some time, connected to a ventilator. He was infected ” , said the pediatrician in an interview with El Nuevo Día .
The doctor explained that the contagion had to have occurred through relatives, since the schools remain closed and the probability field for a minor to become infected, compared to adults, is lower.
“Most of these infections in minors are from relatives, because schools are not open. Certainly children, unlike an adult when they tell them that you have to take care of yourself wherever you go and put on a mask, that does not depend on the child, but on the adult, “ said Ramos Otero.
Health reported today that the number of COVID-19 cases in minors aged 10 or under rose to 1,197, a number that represents 4.8% of the total confirmed patients on the island, which is 24,804.
By September 8, when the minor was admitted to an ICU, the number of confirmed cases in patients 10 years of age or younger was 770, so this line increased 427 cases in just under a month.
Meanwhile, the number of patients between the ages of 10 and 19 today stands at 1,937 cases, which represents an increase of 620 confirmed positive results in this area since September 8, when the figure was 1,317. The total number of confirmed cases in patients between 10 and 19 years old represents 7.8% of the global number of confirmed cases.
“This was expected (increase in infections in minors) because for a long time it was said that children were less vulnerable and people did not have so much concern until we have been emphatic that anyone can get severe COVID , “ emphasized the pediatrician.
Ramos Otero also said that this has not been the only minor hospitalized for complications from COVID-19 so far since the emergency on the island.
“We have had hospitalized as young as one month to four months. We have also had at least three patients with multisystemic syndrome, which is the infectious disease that occurs after COVID, “he highlighted.
He took the opportunity, in turn, to emphasize that, in his opinion, this is not the time to open schools on the island, but that the government should initiate a process to detail a plan to reopen schools, due to the fact that more and more cases of children requiring mental health assistance due to the pandemic.
“We have children watching videos at home and often playing violent games. We currently have children using pediatric mental health units due to the situation of the pandemic. So the kids are not having a good time. The children are not made to be locked up, but to be playing and falling, ”said Ramos Otero.
He highlighted that the federal government has already allocated more than 2.6 million masks for the reopening of schools in Puerto Rico and that both Health and the Department of Education must consider the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, in English) and the Academy of Pediatrics to develop a plan against COVID-19 in schools.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Puerto Rico today is 24,804, while probable cases total 25,571.