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Coronavirus Covid-19 Bulletin #553/ 22 September 2021

The spread of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic continues under control, despite the confirmation that the Delta variant is in circulation. The authorities are monitoring the virus and its variants. The national 4-week positivity rate for the 22 September 2021 Epidemiological Bulletin #553 is at 6.39%, down from the previous day. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 7.10%, down from the day before.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #553 reports 279 new cases for the Wednesday, 22 September 2021 deadline. The number of reported active Covid-cases detailed in the Covid-19 Bulletin #553 is 4,779, down (-155) from the previous day.

The 279 new cases for bulletin #553 compare to the 7-day nationwide average for confirmed cases that is 268.

As per Bulletin #553, with the deadline of 22 September 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 356,321 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 3,927 first-time tests. This number of tests compares with the 14-day average now at 3,703.

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 Ministry of Public Health says the Mu (Colombia), Gamma (Brazil) and Delta (India) are the prevalent variants in circulation. The Ministry says unvaccinated young people are driving the spread of the disease.

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 a month after lifting of curfew in the capital city and La Altagracia (Punta Cana), there has not yet been a spike in cases yet the declines in active cases and positivity have been replaced by a slow upward trend.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 from 12 midnight to 5am. The exception to the ban on alcohol is only in the National District, La Altagracia and Pedernales. The decision to end the curfew was taken once 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 dropped to under 10% since early July 2021.

Ministry of Public Health permits continue to be required for events where people agglomerate and public places and private places for public use are limited to 75% of capacity.

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 where curfew has been removed.

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 on 20 September 2021. A drive-through facility is now available at the National Theater in the National District.

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 Ministry of Education says that 99% of teachers in the country hae been vaccinated.

The number of persons seeking vaccinations has plummeted to less than 30,000 a day. For the 21 September deadline, Our World in Data reports that 26,771 first and second dose vaccines were applied. The rolling 7-day average as of 21 September 2021 deadline is 25,407 vaccines applied per day. The VacunateRD government website reports the injecting of 6,014,185 first doses of the vaccine and 4,849,827 second doses for the 22 September 2021 vaccination deadline. The government says that around 57% of the target population over 18 years old had the two doses as of 22 September 2021.

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. For the 22 September 2021 deadline, the Ministry of Public Health reports that 877,668 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 22 September 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 367. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,763, Argentina at 2,509, Colombia at 2,445, Italy at 2,163, the United States at 2,103, the United Kingdom at 1,988, Spain at 1,842, France at 1,778, Russia at 1,380, Germany 1,116 and Canada at 722, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.

No Covid-related death is recorded for the 22 September 2021 deadline, and one death is reported having occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 22 September 2021 deadline, 4,031 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 1.13%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 385.80. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 385.80 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 2,099.40.

The Ministry of Public Health report #553 indicates 17% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (448 of 2,604 total available), down from the previous day. 28% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (169 of 609 beds), same as 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 #553: 356,321 confirmed cases, 279 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,779 active cases, no death is reported for the deadline, and no death happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 385.80.

Bulletin #552: 356,042 confirmed cases, 321 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,934 active cases, two deaths are reported for the deadline, and no death happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 385.80.

Bulletin #551: 355,721 confirmed cases, 343 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,936 active cases, no death is reported for the deadline, and no death happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 385.61.

Bulletin #550: 355,378 confirmed cases, 228 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,701 active cases, one death is reported for the deadline, and one deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 385.61.

Bulletin #549: 355,150 confirmed cases, 137 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,796 active cases, one death is reported for the deadline, and one deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 385.51.

Bulletin #548: 355,013 confirmed cases, 297 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,990 active cases, no deaths are reported for the deadline, and no deaths are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 385.41.

Bulletin #547: 354,716 confirmed cases, 273 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 4,983 active cases, two deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths are reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 385.41.

Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 22 September 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #553, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (95,670) and the Santo Domingo province (77,402). The numbers account for 50% of the 356,321 confirmed cases nationwide.

There were 14 cases reported in the National District, 41 in Santo Domingo province, 38 cases reported in Santiago, 27 cases in La Vega, 23 in Puerto Plata, 17 in Valverde, 16 in Santiago Rodríguez, 15 in San Cristóbal, 13 in La Altagracia and 10 in Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris). All other provinces report less than 10 cases.

Other province totals are: Santiago (36,374), La Romana (12,884), La Altagracia (12,372), La Vega (12,311), San Cristóbal (12,223), Puerto Plata (9,185), Duarte (8,478), Espaillat (7,442), San Pedro de Macoris (5,935), San Juan de la Maguana (5,708), Barahona (4,815), Azua (4,550), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (4,530), Monseñor Nouel (3,998), Sánchez Ramírez (3,813), Valverde (3,776), Hermanas Mirabal (3,421), Peravia (3,221), Monte Plata (2,292), Baoruco (2,000), Montecristi (1,910), Hato Mayor (1,741), Santiago Rodriguez (1,741), Dajabón (1,718), San José de Ocoa (1,419), Independencia (1,368), El Seibo (1,230), Samaná (1,177), Pedernales (935) and Elías Piña (533) as of the 22 September 2021 deadline.

Schools reopened for in-person learning on 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. Schools require teachers to be vaccinated.

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. The government has a surplus of vaccines. The Health Cabinet has not shared updates on new arrivals of vaccine stock. President Luis Abinader announced on 22 September 2021 speaking at the UN General Assembly that the Dominican Republic had donated 802,000 vaccines to neighboring countries.

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.

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 21,453 confirmed cases and 607 deaths, for the 21 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 20 September 2021, 61,204 doses of Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines had been applied in Haiti at the 62 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. Only 18,535 people are fully vaccinated (2 doses) in Haiti as of 21 September 2021.

Overall, health experts attribute the general low number of deaths in Haiti (52 per 1M pop compared to 367 per 1M in the DR) as of 20 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 18th in confirmed PCR cases after the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Canada, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Panama, Cuba, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Guatemala and Honduras.

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

23 September 2021