Covid-19: Situation in Algarve is “worrying”, warn health authorities
Ana Cristina Guerreiro, regional health delegate

Covid-19: Situation in Algarve is “worrying”, warn health authorities

Health authorities in the Algarve have described the region’s epidemiological situation as “worrying”, with new Covid-19 case numbers rising by the day. The statement came this Monday morning during a press conference in Loulé.

“The situation in the Algarve, as on a national level, is worrying,” said regional health delegate Ana Cristina Guerreiro.

“Numbers are high and are expected to continue rising, putting pressure on health services. That is one of our greatest concerns,” she said, warning that the cold weather makes people more susceptible to infection and “pre-Christmas social activities bring people together, especially in closed spaces, which also increases the risk of contagion”.

The goal, say health authorities, is to continue encouraging people to get vaccinated – either for their first shot or booster shot.

“I want to appeal to everyone who lives and works in the Algarve to get vaccinated, because it is of the greatest importance,” said Paulo Morgado, president of the Algarve health authority (ARS Algarve).

Covid-19 vaccinations are also open to everyone over the age of 65, people working in jobs with high Covid-19 risk and those who received the Janssen vaccine over three months ago and are aged over 50.

“I repeat this appeal: we are available to vaccinate those who are eligible,” he added.

More people are soon expected to be added to the eligible groups, said Morgado, such as children aged five to 11, “who should be cleared for the vaccine very soon”.

Also in attendance was António Pina, mayor of Olhão and president of the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL), who warned that the Algarve has to prepare for the next sixth months.

“It is now evident that we will all have to get vaccinated again, including young children as is expected soon. Only vaccination will give us a collective resistance to this virus,” he warned.

In Pina’s opinion, the situation has worsened because people began questioning the need for a vaccine.

“In the last two months, when we thought the worst of it was behind us, we began losing our collective focus. And that is why the rollout of the booster shot did not go as well.

“It wasn’t so much a matter of disorganisation because the vaccines were there and so were the health professionals. It was because we started questioning the need for a vaccine,” said Pina, adding that this perception has “thankfully changed and demand for the booster shot is finally increasing”.

“We are now one of the regions with the largest number of cases, but we hope to be the first to emerge from this (worrying) situation,” he said.

Over 3,300 active cases
According to the latest data available on Monday, the Algarve had 3,339 active cases of Covid-19 on Saturday.

Eighty-eight people were in hospital due to the virus, 20 of whom were in intensive care.

Most of the infected are in the 30-39 age group, followed closely by the 40-49 group.

Explained Ana Cristina Guerreiro, the incidence rate among people over the age of 60, and especially over 80, has not been growing as much as in other age groups.

“This is a clear sign of the effect of vaccination,” the regional health delegate explained. Mortality has decreased compared to last year, “but there are still deaths and hospitalisations, which continue to be cause for concern”.

There are presently 35 active outbreaks in the Algarve, 20 of which at local schools and two at old people’s homes.

Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.

Covid-19: Situation in Algarve is “worrying”, warn health authorities
Paulo Morgado, president of Algarve health authority (ARS Algarve)
Covid-19: Situation in Algarve is “worrying”, warn health authorities
Ana Cristina Guerreiro, regional health delegate
Covid-19: Situation in Algarve is “worrying”, warn health authorities
António Pina, Olhão mayor and president of municipalities association AMAL