Health department not considering new lockdown measures in Lleida
Field hospital set up outside Arnau Vilanova hospital to provide backup if needed for Covid-19 patients
The department of health is not considering applying new lockdown measures in parts of Lleida despite some small coronavirus outbreaks appearing in the region in recent weeks which have led the health emergencies service to preemptively build a field hospital outside the city's main hospital.
However, health officials are calling on locals to slow down their activity and postpone any non-essential plans in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
On Friday, the ministry of health announced that 276 newly confirmed Covid-19 cases were detected in the previous 24 hours, and 60 of which came from Lleida - many of those affected are seasonal fruit pickers who often work and live in precarious conditions.
Health minister Alba Vergés told Catalunya Ràdio that the number of new cases found in Lleida this week doubled compared to last week, but reasoned that the majority of movement in the area takes place within the affected region where the positive tests have been found.
In a press conference Friday evening, Vergés confirmed that on June 22, Lleida's main hospital had 4 Covid-19 patients in the ICU and another 6 in regular hospital rooms - on July 3, that figure stands at 21 coronavirus patients in regular hospital rooms and 6 in the ICU.
Last week, 167 new cases were confirmed, and this week there have been 325. In addition, hospitalizations are increasing. "The virus is being transmitted, we really want to flatten the curve in Lleida," she insisted.
Vergés also explained that from now on, the health and conditions of elderly and vulnerable people will be especially monitored.
However, despite discarding for the moment any fresh confinement measures, Vergés acknowledged that the volume of new cases is significant, as there have also been some hospital and ICU admissions.
"This makes us think that we must act and that we must give this message that this is not a joke," the minister added, who pointed out that outbreaks are not a concern, but the fact that the volume of cases is growing which implies community transmission.
Because of Lleida's increasing numbers, a field hospital was preemptively set up outside the Arnau de Vilanova hospital on Friday by medical emergency services that would be able to treat up to 105 patients if required.
Vergés also indicated that there is also an outbreak in Barcelona, but added that it is not at worrying levels.
Two Barcelona area care homes closed
On Friday morning it was also announced that two care homes not far from Barcelona were being shut down - one in Ullastrell and another in Sant Adrià del Besòs - for failing to guarantee residents and workers' health and safety given the risk of Covid-19 transmissions.
Disciplinary proceedings had already been opened against these two care homes during the lockdown due to serious irregularities found by authorities and they will remain closed until resolved.