2021News

Coronavirus Covid-19 Bulletin #500/ 31 July 2021

The number of active cases has declined over the past 14 days from 53,945 to 14,605, a more than 70% drop. The Dominican Republic continues to experience lows in active cases and new cases. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health closely monitors the new variants and their impact in the Dominican Republic as curfew restrictions are reduced to a minimum. The government announced as of 2 August 2021, the National Dr. Defilló Lab has sequencing capacity to determine the variants that are circulating in the country for timely control of future outbreaks.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #500 reports 362 new PCR cases for the Saturday, 31 July 2021 deadline. New cases and active cases have been consistently declining since mid-July.

The Health Cabinet has challenged the people in the Dominican Republic to get fully vaccinated. In the Dominican Republic the government has sufficient inventories of vaccines to apply at least 100,000 doses per day.

The Presidency says it is considering fully removing curfew restrictions in municipalities where 70% of the people have at least two doses. The tourism province of La Altagracia (Punta Cana) has all of its population with at least one vaccine and more than 78% with the full dose.

The 362 new cases for bulletin #500 compare to the 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases that is 316, down from the previous day average. As has been happening since the start of the pandemic, Greater Santo Domingo concentrates most of the new registered cases.

As per Bulletin #500, with the deadline of 31 July 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 342,267 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 2,724 first-time PCR tests. This number of PCR tests compares with the 14-day average now at 3,139.

The national 4-week positivity rate is 9.58%, continuing on the downward trend. Nevertheless, the 24-hour positivity for the day is 13.29%, up from the day before.

The number of reported active Covid-cases declined to 14,604 (-2,195), another major decline from the previous day.

The National Vaccination Plan recommends a booster shot different from the first two doses to be applied a month after the second dose of the Sinovac vaccine and three months after the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Pfizer booster vaccine is being applied to persons with co-morbidities and seniors, and at demand in select vaccination stations.

The general vaccination drive is open to persons 12+ years old since Saturday, 12 June 2021 with the arrival of Pfizer vaccines to select vaccination centers. As of 2 July 2021, a third Pfizer booster shot has been available. As of February 2021, vaccines have consistently arrived to continue with the National Vaccination Plan as scheduled. The goal is to have fully vaccinated upwards of 60% of the population in time for the start of the 2021-2022 school year in September 2021. As of mid-July, 50% of the population has the first two vaccines.

The government has ordered that all private and public schools open for in person learning in September. It is likely private schools will open in August. Schools continue to be subject to keeping to health protocols. Universities say they will reopen in August but require students to have the full vaccination dose to enroll in in person learning classes.

Health experts insist that sufficient immunity is not acquired until two weeks after the person has received the second dose. The government aspires to maintain a pace of 100,000+ vaccinations a day. Some 57,836 first and second dose vaccines were applied for the 30 July deadline, according to Our World in Data. The rolling 7-day average as of 30 July 2021 deadline is 64,621 vaccines applied per day, up from the previous day. The VacunateRD government website reports 5,543,146 first doses of the vaccine and 4,215,901 second doses for the 31 July 2021 vaccination deadline. More than half of the target population over 18 years old now has the two doses.

The government seeks to vaccinate 7.8 million adults of the population of 10.8 million. In addition. This total does not take into consideration those 12-18 years of age that of June 2021 are included in the vaccination campaign with the expected weekly arrival of Pfizer vaccines.

Regarding Covid-19 testing in the Dominican Republic, private labs have special facilities for those requiring results in time for travel abroad. Results of PCR tests can be had in 24 hours for those presenting a valid airline ticket at labs carried out the test in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Punta Cana. Antigen tests results can be had in three hours at select labs in the same locations. Nevertheless, travelers are recommended to make arrangements with extra time. PCR test results are usually given in 24 hours or less online.

Canada and Spain are requiring all entering to show negative results of a PCR test carried out within 72 hours before the traveler’s scheduled departure to those countries. Yet, Spain has announced that travelers who have the two doses of the Sinovac or Pfizer vaccine at least two weeks before the travel date can enter without a PCR test. Both vaccines are now available in the Dominican Republic. More than 85% of those vaccinated in the Dominican Republic have received the Sinovac/Coronavac vaccine. The US requires travelers to show negative antigen or PCR test results taken within 72 hours of the arrival to US territory.

Decree No. 432-21 sets curfew from 11pm to 5am daily with a daily two-hour free transit period.

The Plan for the Relaxation of Restrictive Measures for COVID-19 contemplates the lifting of the curfew in municipalities when at least 70% of the respective population has received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. La Altagracia (Punta Cana) has met the requirement. Yet, the government is being extra cautious after the spread of the Delta variant in the United States, from where most of the visitors to the Dominican Republic come from.

The intention is still to contain mobility and people mixing now that new highly transmissible variants of the virus are in circulation.

Open-air public spaces, such as parks and boulevards, can be used for activities other than social gatherings and always complying with preventive health protocols. Gyms, restaurants and bars are allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity. A maximum of six persons per table is allowed, among other health protocols. Religious ceremonies are allowed three days a week, as long as they keep within 60% of the capacity of the church and churchgoers must keep their masks on during the service. Theaters have resumed showings under health protocols.

Hotels and resorts continue to operate under previously established less restrictive health protocols. This means that alcoholic beverages are available at restaurants and bars within the resort or hotel areas that are under the tourism protocols.

The government began to vaccinate for the Covid-19 virus on 16 February 2021. As of 28 July 2021, the Dominican Republic has received 16,875,040 vaccine doses, of which around 84% have come from China – 13,768,000 Sinovac and 50,000 Sinopharm vaccines (13,818,000). Pfizer has delivered 2,239,120 vaccine doses around 13%. Of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the delivered 884,400 doses represent 4.5% of the total.

A batch of 163,200 vaccines arrived on 21 July 2021. The Ministry of Health did not specify the pharmaceutical company for this shipment.

A batch of 136,890 Pfizer vaccines arrived on 28 July 2021. Another of 503,100 of Pfizer vaccines was received on 31 July.

Free vaccines are available at more than 1,000 vaccination centers nationwide. The Pfizer vaccine is available at major vaccination sites at request for those 12+. The Pfizer vaccine is also available as a booster shot for those who have received the two Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccines. As of 31 July 2021, the Ministry of Public Health reports that 381,286 people had received the Pfizer third booster shot.

The Dominican Republic is in the top 5 of numbers of persons per country vaccinated in the Americas.

Regardless of the widespread vaccination program, the Ministry of Public Health continues to mandate keeping to the preventive measures of mask-wearing, physical distancing in public spaces, hand hygiene and keeping to well-ventilated areas. In the cities, mask-wearing is the norm and is mandatory. As of recent weeks, mask usage is relaxed in ventilated public areas. Shopping malls and major stores continue to require the use of the facial masks.

The Dominican Republic continues under a National State of Emergency. The Presidency approved Decree 417-21 that extends the National State of Emergency until 26 August 2021.

By regional standards, the Dominican Republic has been relatively successful at treating Covid-19 and keeping the number of deaths low. For the 31 July 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 361. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,600, Colombia at 2,351, Argentina at 2,317, Italy at 2,122, the United Kingdom at 1,900, the United States at 1,889, Spain at 1,742, France at 1,710, Germany 1,096, Russia at 1,091 and Canada at 698, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.

No Covid-related deaths are recorded for the 31 July 2021 deadline, and no deaths occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 31 July 2021 deadline, 3,963 persons are reported to have died of the disease in the Dominican Republic, a nation of more than 10.8 million adults since March 2020. The fatality rate is at 1.16%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 379.29. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 379.29 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 1,930.71.

The Ministry of Public Health report #500 indicates 22% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (578 of 2,655 total available), down compared to the previous day. 31% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (195 of 633 beds), down from the day before. The hospitalization statistics are for all the country. Hospitalization demand in Greater Santo Domingo, Santiago and other major cities is much higher than the national average.

The past seven days bulletin result highlights are:

Bulletin #500: 342,267 confirmed cases, 362 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 14,604 active cases, three deaths are reported for the deadline, and one death are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 379.29.

Bulletin #499: 341,905 confirmed cases, 395 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 14,609 active cases, three deaths are reported for the deadline, and one death are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 379.29.

Bulletin #498: 341,510 confirmed cases, 331 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 16,799 active cases, three deaths are reported for the deadline, and one death are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 378.62.

Bulletin #497: 341,179 confirmed cases, 365 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 20,096 active cases, three deaths are reported for the deadline, and one death are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 378.62.

Bulletin #496: 340,814 confirmed cases, 316 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 24,657 active cases, eight deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 378.33.

Bulletin #495: 340,498 confirmed cases, 268 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 28,000 active cases, eight deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 377.57.

Bulletin #494: 340,230 confirmed cases, 177 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 31,268 active cases, no death is reported for the deadline, and no death is reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 376.80.

Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 31 July 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #500, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (93,521) and the Santo Domingo province (74,092). The numbers account for 50% of the 342,267 confirmed cases nationwide.

Other provinces are: Santiago (34,073), La Romana (12,592), La Altagracia (11,909), San Cristóbal (11,683), La Vega (11,586), Puerto Plata (8,409), Duarte (8,070), Espaillat (6,810), San Pedro de Macoris (5,700), San Juan de la Maguana (5,546), Barahona (4,733), Azua (4,421), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (4,129), Monseñor Nouel (3,867), Sánchez Ramírez (3,606), Valverde (3,293), Hermanas Mirabal (3,243), Peravia (3,074), Monte Plata (2,123), Baoruco (1,943), Hato Mayor (1,652), Santiago Rodriguez (1,623), Montecristi (1,590), Dajabón (1,486), San José de Ocoa (1,390), Independencia (1,341), El Seibo (1,179), Samaná (1,118), Pedernales (907) and Elías Piña (506) as of the 31 July 2021 deadline.

The Ministry indicates that the newest allocated cases (more than 9) reported for the 31 July 2021 update deadline are: the National District (50) and Santo Domingo province (55) in Greater Santo Domingo. Greater Santo Domingo concentrates around 50% of the nationwide spread of the virus.

Haiti reports 20,157 confirmed cases and 555 deaths, for the 31 July 2021 deadline. Haiti has only just begun to start its Covid-19 vaccination program. This was because the Haitian government rejected a first Covax facility donation of AstraZeneca vaccines. The Dominican government authorized the vaccinating of Haitians with domicile in the Dominican Republic. A donation of Moderna vaccines was shipped to Haiti for the start of the vaccination program.

Overall, health experts attribute the general low number of deaths in Haiti (48 per 1M pop compared to 361 per 1M in the DR) as of 31 July 2021 in part due to widespread vaccinating of babies with the tuberculosis vaccine and widespread use of ivermectin for parasites that have raised the immunity of the population. In person education has continued regularly in Haiti, and most people do not wear masks nor exercise physical distancing.

In the Americas, the Dominican Republic is now ranked 14th in confirmed PCR cases after the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Chile, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Read more:
Decree 432-21 Curfew schedule
Decree 417-21 National State of Emergency

See the Ministry of Public Health epidemiological
Bulletins

VacunateRD

John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
University of Washington Health Data
University of Oxford Covid Tracker
Worldometer
Our World in Data

University of Virginia Covid-19 Surveillance Dashboard

2 August 2021