Ecuador's intensive care units 85 pct full due to COVID-19

By EElena

QUITO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's intensive care units (ICUs) are on average 85 percent full with patients suffering from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said on Wednesday.

"That has not changed since last week," but "there are provinces with more serious problems" in terms of ICU occupancy, Zevallos said in a virtual press conference from the United States, where he was negotiating the purchase of more COVID-19 vaccines.

Five of the country's 24 provinces have run out or are running out of ICU beds, he said, including Carchi, on the border with Colombia, where ICU beds are 100 percent full; followed by Pichincha, the national epicenter of the pandemic, with 93 percent occupancy; and Guayas, with 92 percent.

Other two provinces with high ICU occupancy are Manabi (84 percent) and Azuay (80 percent).

Ecuador registered 1,748 new daily cases of COVID-19 infection on Wednesday, for a total of 224,315 cases since the start of the pandemic here on Feb. 29, 2020, according to the Health Ministry.

In the past 24 hours, 26 more patients died from the disease, raising the death toll to 9,636.

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