© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mexico City
By Diego Oré and Ana Isabel Martinez
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Coronavirus patients were rejected from hospitals in the Mexican capital on Saturday as both public and private medical facilities quickly fill up and the number of new infections continues to increase.
According to the city government, 26 of the 64 public hospitals in the extensive metro area of the capital, in which patients with COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the virus, are to be admitted.
A vinyl banner on the fence of the Ignacio Zaragosa public hospital in the city's poor Iztapalapa district said there were no beds for new coronavirus patients.
"Thank you for your understanding," added it.
Door surgeons who were entered with stretcher patients last week were closed on Saturday at the public facility and orange barrels were set up to block access.
Another 16 public clinics were almost full, while 22 others had space, the data showed.
Five private hospitals in the capital contacted by Reuters said they had achieved their ability to treat coronavirus patients, including Medica Sur Hospital Español and two Grupo Angeles clinics.
The available beds and intensive care units with ventilators for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in private hospitals in five states and in Mexico City are already saturated, according to the National Association of Private Hospitals.
The states include Puebla, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, Baja California and Baja California Sur.
"At the moment we have no space," said an employee of the ABC Med Centro private hospital.
The government has announced that this weekend could mark the peak of infections in the densely populated area in and around the capital, where more than 20 million people live. Most of the confirmed cases were also documented there.
Public health officials have confirmed at least 31,522 infections and 3,160 deaths so far, although both numbers are almost certain to underestimate the true extent of the outbreak in Mexico due to very limited testing.
Citing model data from a few weeks ago, health authorities have indicated that there could be more than 104,000 COVID-19 cases.
As of Thursday, the Ministry of Health announced that 38% of beds with respirators to treat patients are still available in the capital, while 55% are still available in the surrounding state of Mexico.
Nationwide, according to the Ministry, three quarters of the beds with ventilators were still available for new patients.
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