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Coronavirus Covid-19 Bulletin #540/ 9 September 2021

The spread of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic continues under control. The authorities, nevertheless, are closely monitoring the virus and its variants. The national 4-week positivity rate for the 9 September 2021 Epidemiological Bulletin #540 is at 6.26%, up from the previous day. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 8.51%, up from the day before.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #540 reports 321 new cases for the Wednesday, 9 September 2021 deadline. The number of reported active Covid-cases detailed in the Covid-19 Bulletin #540 is 5,128, up (+128) from the previous day.

The 321 new cases for bulletin #540 compare to the 7-day nationwide average for confirmed cases that is 223. As has been happening since the start of the pandemic, Greater Santo Domingo concentrates most of the new registered cases.

As per Bulletin #540, with the deadline of 8 September 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 352,762 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 3,770 first-time tests. This number of tests compares with the 14-day average now at 2,998.

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. 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 on 31 August 2021 said that Gamma (Brazil) is the prevalent variant in circulation. The authorities say they have identified the new Mu variant (Colombia) is circulating here in the southwestern provinces of Bahoruco, Barahona, Azua and in Santo Domingo and central La Vega. Additional testing is still required to identify if the Delta variant is in circulation. The Ministry says unvaccinated young people are driving the spread of the disease. The number of cases is higher in provinces where the fully vaccinated is lower, included the provinces of Santiago, La Vega and San Cristobal.

The Ministry of Public Health is closely monitoring the situation now that circulation restrictions are being revoked. Covid-19 curfew was lifted in the National District and La Altagracia province on 9 August 2021 and in Pedernales, officially on 9 September 2021. More than two weeks after the lifting of curfew in these municipalities, there has not yet been a spike in cases yet the declines in active cases and positivity have been replaced by a slow upward trend.

Decree 477-21 that removes the curfew still establishes a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages every day in the capital city and La Altagracia now from 12 midnight to 5am. Ministry of Public Health permits are required for events where people agglomerate and public places and private places for public use are limited to 75% of capacity. The decision to end the curfew was taken after more than 70% of the population in the capital city (DN) and La Altagracia (Higuey, Verón and Punta Cana) was fully vaccinated and the positivity and active cases have been dropping nationwide since early July 2021.

Decree No. 432-21 still sets curfew from 11pm to 5am daily with a daily two-hour free transit period for all provinces other than La Altagracia, the National District and now Pedernales.

The Health Cabinet has challenged the people in the Dominican Republic to get fully vaccinated. In the Dominican Republic the government has more than enough inventories of vaccines to apply at least 100,000 doses per day. The government has habilitated nighttime vaccination stations in movie theaters, shopping malls, and in the Colonial City to make it easier for people to get vaccinated in August and September 2021. The government is installing mobile vaccination units in public schools and universities in time for the opening of in-person learning in September 2021.

While La Altagracia (Punta Cana) and the National District are the first curfew-free areas, the Presidency says it is considering fully removing curfew restrictions in all provinces where 70% of the people have at least two doses.

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 for adults. 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.

Health experts insist that sufficient immunity is not acquired until two weeks after the person has received the second dose. The government aspires to a pace of 100,000+ vaccinations a day. Yet the number of persons seeking vaccinations has plummeted to less than 30,000 a day. For the 8 September deadline, Our World in Data reports that 27,529 first and second dose vaccines were applied. The rolling 7-day average as of 8 September 2021 deadline is 28,460 vaccines applied per day. The VacunateRD government website reports the injecting of 5,899,155 first doses of the vaccine and 4,744,602 second doses for the 9 September 2021 vaccination deadline. The government says that around 55% of the target population over 18 years old now has the two doses.

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. As of 8 September 2021, the Ministry of Public Health reports that 770,593 people had received the Pfizer third booster shot.

By regional standards, the Dominican Republic has been relatively successful at treating Covid-19 and keeping the number of deaths low. For the 9 September 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 366. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,730, Argentina at 2,475, Colombia at 2,435, Italy at 2,151, the United States at 2,024, the United Kingdom at 1,961, Spain at 1,823, France at 1,763, Russia at 1,309, Germany 1,106 and Canada at 712, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.

No Covid-related death is recorded for the 9 September 2021 deadline, and no death is reported having occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 9 September 2021 deadline, 4,014 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 1.14%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 384.17. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 384.17 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 2,053.85.

The Ministry of Public Health report #540 indicates 15% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (397 of 2,604 total available), down from the previous day. 22% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (135 of 609 beds), up 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 #540: 352,762 confirmed cases, 321 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 5,128 active cases, one death is reported for the deadline, and no death is reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 384.17.

Bulletin #539: 352,441 confirmed cases, 240 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 5,024 active cases, one death is reported for the deadline, and no death is reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 384.17.

Bulletin #538: 352,201 confirmed cases, 192 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 5,075 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 384.07.

Bulletin #537: 352,009 confirmed cases, 115 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,942 active cases, one death is reported for the deadline, and no death is reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 384.07.

Bulletin #536: 351,894 confirmed cases, 156 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 5,056 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 383.98.

Bulletin #535: 351,738 confirmed cases, 285 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 5,225 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 383.93.

Bulletin #534: 351,453 confirmed cases, 253 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 5,272 active cases, three deaths are reported for the deadline, and twos death are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 383.98.

Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 9 September 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #540, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (95,205) and the Santo Domingo province (76,819). The numbers account for 50% of the 352,762 confirmed cases nationwide.

Other provinces are: Santiago (35,851), La Romana (12,799), La Altagracia (12,225), La Vega (12,143), San Cristóbal (12,036), Puerto Plata (8,983), Duarte (8,383), Espaillat (7,383), San Pedro de Macoris (5,862), San Juan de la Maguana (5,666), Barahona (4,800), Azua (4,531), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (4,439), Monseñor Nouel (3,976), Sánchez Ramírez (3,736), Valverde (3,570), Hermanas Mirabal (3,386), Peravia (3,162), Monte Plata (2,262), Baoruco (1,990), Montecristi (1,767), Hato Mayor (1,726), Santiago Rodriguez (1,708), Dajabón (1,613), San José de Ocoa (1,418), Independencia (1,362), El Seibo (1,227), Samaná (1,158), Pedernales (923) and Elías Piña (523) as of the 9 September 2021 deadline.

Santiago, the country’s second largest city, reports 73 cases, the most in the country for #540. Greater Santo Domingo concentrates around 50% of the nationwide spread of the virus. In Greater Santo Domingo, the National District reports 17 new cases and Santo Domingo province another 21 cases. More than 70% of the population of the National Distict is fully vaccinated.

The government has authorized schools to reopen for in person learning by 20 September 2021. Many private schools opened for in-person learning before 1 September 2021. Schools continue to be subject to health protocols. Universities reopened for classes in August but require students to have the full vaccination dose to enroll in in-person learning classes. Several private schools are requiring that students present an antigen test for the start of classes.

The government seeks to vaccinate 7.8 million adults of the population of 10.8 million. In addition. The 7.8 million does not take into consideration those 12-18 years of age that of June 2021 are included in the vaccination campaign with the regular arrival of batches 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. Around 80% 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.

The Plan for the Relaxation of Restrictive Measures for COVID-19 contemplates the lifting of the curfew in provinces when at least 70% of the respective population has received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Yet, the government is being extra cautious after the spread of the Delta variant in the United States and several other major source market countries 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 75% of their capacity. Theaters have resumed showings under health protocols.

Hotels and resorts have operated throughout the pandemic under previously established less restrictive health protocols. In July, the Ministry of Tourism authorized again booking up to 100% of room capacity. Booster shots have been made available to all hotel personnel as an extra step to ensure the safety of guests and staff alike.

The government began to vaccinate for the Covid-19 virus on 16 February 2021. As of 3 September 2021, the Dominican Republic has received 21,737,730 vaccine doses, of which around 72.77% have come from China – 15,768,000 Sinovac and 50,000 Sinopharm vaccines (15,818,000). Pfizer has delivered 5,530,530 vaccine doses for 20.84%. Of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the delivered 1,389,200 doses represent 6.39% of the total. The Abinader administration donated 101,000 doses to Honduras and 304,000 doses to Guatemala to boost their vaccination campaigns.

The most recent reported arrivals of vaccines are: A batch of Astra Zeneca vaccines on 2 August 2021. And a batch of 100,620 of Pfizer vials on 4 August 2021. Another batch of 503,100 Pfizer vaccines arrived on 6 August. On 10 August a batch of Astra Zeneca vaccines with 77,600 vials was received. On 13 August, a batch of 431,730 Pfizer vaccines arrived. On 27 August, the government reported the arrival of a batch of 184,800 AstraZeneca vaccine doses and 572,680 Pfizer doses. On 29 August the Health Cabinet announced the arrival of a 2 million Sinovac/Coronavac vaccine doses. On 1 September, the Health Cabinet announced the arrival of 503,100 Pfizer vaccines. On 3 September, a shipment of 180,180 Pfizer vaccines arrived.

Free vaccines are available at around 1,400 vaccination centers nationwide. The Pfizer vaccine is available at major vaccination sites. The Pfizer vaccine is also available as a booster shot for those who have received the two Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccines and at demand for those who prefer this vaccine.

The Dominican Republic is in the top 5 of numbers of persons per country vaccinated in the Americas, only behind Uruguay, Chile, Canada and the United States.

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 has been relaxed in public areas. People are gathering in restaurants and bars without masks, and discos and theaters are again open. 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 528-21 that extends the National State of Emergency until 11 October 2021.

Haiti reports 21,162 confirmed cases and 588 deaths, for the 8 September 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. As of 31 August 2021, 35,400 doses of Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines had been applied in Haiti at the 59 open vaccination centers since the start of vaccination on 16 July 2021. Haiti rejected a donation of 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the Dominican Republic.

Overall, health experts attribute the general low number of deaths in Haiti (51 per 1M pop compared to 366 per 1M in the DR) as of 9 September 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 17th in confirmed PCR cases after the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Canada, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Panama, Cuba, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Guatemala.

Read more:

Decree 477-21 Curfew schedule removed in DN and La Altagracia
Decree 528-21 National State of Emergency extension through October

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

10 September 2021