2021News

Coronavirus Covid-19 Bulletin #568/ 7 October 2021

The Ministry of Public Health Coronavirus Bulletin #568 reports 517 new cases, down from the recent high of 886 on the previous day. There continue to be significant increases in cases for Greater Santo Domingo. The positivity for the National District is at 9.45% and for Santo Domingo province at 7.60%. The Presidency is going ahead with the removing of the curfew in all provinces as of Monday, 11 October 2021.

Ten provinces present a positivity rate over 10%. These are Pedernales 24.29%, Peravia 22.83%, Montecristi 20.89%, Azua 11.90%, San Cristóbal 11.08%, Sánchez Ramírez 10.33%, Dajabón 14.39%, Santiago Rodríguez 11.81%, El Seibo 11.56% and La Romana 11.60%.

The authorities are tackling the rise in cases. President Luis Abinader on 30 September 2021 urged people to get vaccinated, and those that already have the two doses to get the booster shot. An estimated 60% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.

The 517 new cases for bulletin #568 compare to the 7-day nationwide average for confirmed cases that is 665. The increase in cases is attributed to the whirlwind of activities related to the start of in-person learning in early September for private schools and 20 September for public schools. The 24 September long weekend is said to also have contributed to the recent increase in cases. This is in addition to the circulation of the variants, including Gamma, Alpha, Delta and Mu.

The national 4-week positivity rate for the 7 October 2021 Epidemiological Bulletin #568 is at 8.69%, up from the previous day. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 14.39%, down from the previous day.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #568 reports active Covid-cases are 7,453, down (-146) from the previous day.

As per Bulletin #568, with the deadline of 6 October 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 364,252 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 3,593 first-time tests. This number of tests compares with the 14-day average now at 4,157.

The Ministry of Public Health is monitoring the new variants and their impact in the Dominican Republic as curfew restrictions are reduced to a minimum. The Ministry says unvaccinated 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. Despite the recent increase in cases, the Presidency announced on 6 October 2021 that curfew would be removed in the Dominican Republic as of 11 October 2021. The government is betting on getting more people vaccinated. While there is an increase in cases, the death rate and hospitalizations continue under control. The government says that around 60% of the population is fully vaccinated and this is making the difference. The Presidency said it would be issuing the decree removing curfew on Friday, 8 October 2021.

So far, 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 80% of the population in the capital city (DN) and La Altagracia (Higuey, Verón and Punta Cana) are 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.

While La Altagracia (Punta Cana) and the National District are the first curfew-free areas, the Presidency had previously announced it would remove 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 have been vaccinated.

Despite government and general community efforts, the number of persons seeking vaccinations has plummeted to less than 25,000 a day. For the 6 October deadline, Our World in Data reports that 22,015 first and second dose vaccines were applied. The rolling 7-day average as of 6 October 2021 deadline is 22,494 vaccines applied per day. The VacunateRD government website reports the injecting of 6,115,991 first doses of the vaccine and 4,956,157 second doses for the 7 October 2021 vaccination deadline. The government says that upwards of 59% of the target population over 18 years old had the two doses as of the start of October.

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 6 October 2021 deadline, the Ministry of Public Health had reported that 1,000,259 people had received the Pfizer third booster shot, mostly people older than 50 years.

By regional standards, the Dominican Republic has been relatively successful at treating Covid-19 and keeping the number of deaths low. For the 7 October 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 370. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,797, Argentina at 2,524, Colombia at 2,453, the United States at 2,190, Italy at 2,174, the United Kingdom at 2,013, Spain at 1,853, France at 1,787, Russia at 1,469, Germany 1,124 and Canada at 738, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.

Two Covid-related deaths are recorded for the 7 October 2021 deadline. Two deaths are reported having occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 7 October 2021 deadline, 4,065 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 1.12%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 388.86. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 389.05 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 2,149.45.

The Ministry of Public Health report #568 indicates 21% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (552 of 2,604 total available), up from the previous day. 30% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (184 of 609), 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 #568: 364,252 confirmed cases, 517 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,453 active cases, two deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 389.05.

Bulletin #567: 363,735 confirmed cases, 886 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,599 active cases, seven deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 388.86.

Bulletin #566: 362,849 confirmed cases, 746 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,055 active cases, one deaths is reported for the deadline, and no deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 388.19.

Bulletin #565: 362,103 confirmed cases, 701 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 6,713 active cases, one deaths is reported for the deadline, and no deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 388.19.

Bulletin #564: 361,402 confirmed cases, 572 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 6,106 active cases, no deaths are reported for the deadline, and no deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 388.09.

Bulletin #563: 360,830 confirmed cases, 573 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 6,027 active cases, no deaths are reported for the deadline, and no deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 388.09.

Bulletin #562: 360,257 confirmed cases, 660 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 6,104 active cases, six deaths are reported for the deadline, and three deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 388.09.

Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 7 October 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #568, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (97,045) and the Santo Domingo province (78,815). The numbers account for 50% of the 364,252 confirmed cases nationwide.

For the 7 October deadline, there were more than 10 cases reported in a third of the Dominican provinces, reflecting the spread of the virus nationwide. There were 144 cases in the National District, 134 in Santo Domingo province, 47 in Peravia, 36 in Santiago, 28 in Ala Altagracia, 27 in La Romana, 23 in San Pedro de Macorís, 15 in Sánchez Ramírez, and 13 in La Vega. All other provinces report less than 10 cases.

Province case totals are: Santiago (37,537), La Romana (13,129), La Altagracia (12,836), La Vega (12,619), San Cristóbal (12,549), Puerto Plata (9,564), Duarte (8,591), Espaillat (7,552), San Pedro de Macoris (6,101), San Juan de la Maguana (5,837), Barahona (4,853), Azua (4,606), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (4,605), Monseñor Nouel (4,073), Valverde (4,032), Sánchez Ramírez (3,914), Hermanas Mirabal (3,471), Peravia (3,424), Monte Plata (2,342), Montecristi (2,131), Baoruco (2,017), Santiago Rodriguez (1,925), Dajabón (1,848), Hato Mayor (1,757), San José de Ocoa (1,430), Independencia (1,401), El Seibo (1,250), Samaná (1,236), Pedernales (1,011) and Elías Piña (559) as of the 7 October 2021 deadline.

Public 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 Health Cabinet is reviewing the approval of vaccinating school children ages 5 to 11 years old.

The government seeks to vaccinate 7.8 million adults of the population of 10.8 million. 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 70% 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 more than 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. It is also available for those who need the vaccine for travel purposes.

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. Attendance to a recent international volleyball match all wore 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. The Presidency announced this will not be extended again. The National State of Emergency had been consecutively in place since 20 July 2020.

Haiti is reported having 22,354 confirmed cases and 634 deaths, as per the 7 October 2021 global epidemiological 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 2 October 2021, 74,879 doses of Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines had been applied in Haiti at the 75 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 22,432 people are fully vaccinated (2 doses) in Haiti as of the 2 October 2021 data update.

Overall, health experts attribute the general low number of deaths in Haiti (55 per 1M pop compared to 370 per 1M in the DR) as of 6 October 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 19th in confirmed PCR cases after the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Canada, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Panama, Cuba, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Guatemala, Venezuela 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

8 October 2021