Local Daily News 11th January

The incidence of the coronavirus in the province of Alicante reaches the maximum of the pandemic with 1,762.65 cases per 100,000 inhabitants

The incidence rate of coronavirus in the province of Alicante reached the highest value of the entire pandemic this Monday, with 1,762.65 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The sixth wave of the pandemic already exceeds the third wave in the spread of infections, in which the peak was 1,541. Since the previous update of the data of the Ministry of Health, at the end of last week, 7,969 new cases were registered in the demarcation, which together with a much lower number of discharges has led to 32,346 sick people, 4,767 more than those that were counted just four days ago.

The Alcoy health department once again registered the worst figures in the province and in the entire Valencian Community, as  happened during the third wave of the pandemic a year ago. In just four days, 1,214 infections have been added in the community, and the number of sick people rises to 3,864, almost a thousand more than at the end of last week. Thus, the incidence rises to 2,826.3, well above the rest of health areas, which it has also surpassed in an increase in active cases. Among the main towns in the area, the highest index is that of Banyeres, where the 335 affected resulted in a rate of 4,724.96. It is followed by Ibi, with 801 active cases and an incidence of 3,399.25, and Onil also presents exorbitant values ​​of 236 patients and 3,105.26 incidence. On the other hand, the active cases in Alcoy are 1,644 and the rate amounts to 2,769.82. Also Castalla, Muro and Cocentaina have indexes above 2,000.

At the end of last week, the department of Alcoy was the only one in the province with an incidence of more than 2,000, but that is no longer true. Elda, 2,153.32; Dénia, with 2,133.92; and Elche-Hospital General, with 2,064.62, also exceed that number. In Upper and Middle Vinalopó, the most worrying situation is that of Biar, where 184 of its barely 3,700 residents are ill, resulting in a rate of 5,034.2. The data from Pinoso and Sax are also extreme, with 276 and 309 active cases, respectively, and 3,439.25 and 3,134.19 incidence. In the municipality of Elda it is at 2,001.4, with 1,057 affected, while Monóvar and Petrer are between 2,000 and 3,000.

Meanwhile, in the Marina Alta it is also another small-medium-sized population that offers the worst figures: the panorama continues to be complicated in Orba, where active cases are already at 116 and the incidence is at 5,197.13. Another municipality in a delicate situation is El Verger, with 190 patients and a rate of 4,034.83. Among the towns with more than 5,000 inhabitants, the only one with an index above 3,000 is Ondara, with 3,547.2 and 251 affected. However, Pego and Pedreguer remain very close, with 2,980.36 and 2,918.41, respectively, and 302 and 230 active cases. In Dénia the incidence is 2,171.53 with 930 infected. Almost identical rates are recorded in Xàbia and Benissa.

In the city of Elche the average incidence is 1,717.89, but it should be taken into account that the western half of the municipality belongs to the department of Elche-Crevillent, whose rate is much lower but equally extreme: 1,131.09. Another department that does slightly exceed the provincial average is the General Hospital of Alicante, with 1,781.09, a figure somewhat higher than that for the capital itself, which stands at 1,696.09. On the other hand, San Vicente del Raspeig is above: 2,126.22.

The average for the department of Sant Joan d’Alacant is 1,675.28, and 1,593.28 in that of the Marina Baixa. At a local level, Benidorm is at 1,615.33, below the figure for the province as a whole. The Orihuela area registers 1,314.26 and that of Torrevieja continues to be the only one that remains below a thousand active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, specifically 953.37. The data is higher than that of the end of the week, but there are only 65 more active cases than then, a small number compared to the rest of the province.

The Costa Blanca reinforces its commitment as a cycling destination

The Cap Negret hotel in Altea has become the first hotel to receive the Tourism certification and join Bike Territory in its commitment to cycling. The General Director of Tourism, Herick Campos, this Monday attended the award ceremony of the badge awarded by the highest cycling institution in Spain, Bike Territory. Campos emphasizes that “with this new distinctive the Valencian Community reinforces its commitment to tourist quality and excellence and diversity at the service of the visitor.” In his opinion, “the Community has two very important factors for the practice of cycling, one is the geography, from roads and slopes that are attractive and safe, and another factor is the weather that allows you to enjoy this sport for the maximum number of days a year”. Also, Campos wanted to emphasize that “the Community has first-rate companies and entrepreneurs”, while remarking that “if we want tourism to generate economy and employment throughout the year, we must do a job of segmentation of the offer and generate product”.

Bike Territory is a project designed and led by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation to recognize the territories, cities or companies that face the demands of society in the new challenges of resilience, sustainability and digitization by promoting cycling. To achieve certification, the hotel has implemented a series of criteria that confirm it as an ideal destination for cycling fans. In this way, through the Bike Territory Tourism seal, the efforts of the hotel are recognized as a company that promotes the bicycle and owns the infrastructures.

La Vega Baja gains more than 5,000 jobs in a year

In Vega Baja there are 27,973 unemployed people, according to data as of the 31st of December from the State Public Employment Service and the Valencian Labor Service. These figures assume that unemployment has dropped from the previous year by 5,218. The Workers’ Commissions union has produced a report that shows an improvement compared to 2020, the toughest year of the pandemic. To give you an idea, the figure last year exceeded 30,000, something that had not happened since 2016, although without reaching the 40,000 that were seen in 2012. “We are coming out of the crisis caused by the covid and new deposits of employment,” affirms the general secretary for the region, Carmen Palomar.

There are also 1,620 fewer unemployed people compared to November, “especially in the commerce sector due to the Christmas season,” explains Palomar, who highlights as a fundamental fact that opportunities are given to those who by coming of age enter the labour market. Unemployment among young people in the region decreased by 17.53%. That is, 284 young people have found work. “It is a good figure, although it is somewhat below the average for other regions, which stands at almost 23%,” adds the delegate.

Regarding the number of contracts, 113,908 have been carried out, 13.84% more than in 2020, of which 14% more are permanent, a segment in which there is an increase. Meanwhile, the temporary contracts have dropped two points. From the union they point out that “this is the best data verified for a long time.” Something especially noteworthy in a region where one of the main employment problems is the high temporality and seasonality, depending on the summer months. In Palomar’s opinion, it is due to the fact that measures are being put in place to have more permanent contracts and at the same time, more work inspections are being carried out to regularize temporary hiring. In this sense, she also highlights that 63% of new hires are full-time. However, “we must continue looking for solutions to reduce the high rate of temporary employment,” she maintains.

The Ministry of Health cancels operations that need ICU admission due to increased hospital pressure

The increase in people admitted for coronavirus in hospitals in the province is forcing the cancellation of more operations, including those that require admission to the ICU. This is the case of the General Hospital of Alicante. With 13 patients admitted in critical condition, the health centre was forced on Monday to cancel several operations that require admission to the ICU and that are urgent, as is the case of lung tumours or cardiac surgery operations, according to health and union sources in this centre. The situation also affects patients who have urgent interventions scheduled throughout the week, as explained by one of the affected families, who is waiting for an oncological operation. “They have told us that at the moment they cannot operate because they do not have enough ICU beds,” a relative stated, who also complained bitterly that a large part of this critical unit is occupied by unvaccinated people. “The selfishness of these people has made people who need a vital operation have to wait.”

From one of the services affected by this situation in the General Hospital of Alicante they explain that, with the increase in patients in critical situation, there would have been an increase in sick leave due to covid among medical and nursing staff, which prevents opening new areas for the most seriously ill, as has been done in other waves of the pandemic. According to data provided by the Medical Union, in this health centre there are 127 professionals on sick leave due to covid. From the direction of the General Hospital they specify that the cancellation of operations that require admission to the ICU has been punctual and due to the increase in hospitalizations this weekend. The same sources specify that work is being done on the urgent opening of new admission areas for critical patients. In this hospital, it has been weeks since the afternoon operations that require admission have been cancelled and in services such as Traumatology at the moment it is operating at 50%, according to hospital sources. Also, in the neighbouring Hospital de Sant Joan all the activity of the operating rooms is having to be reorganized and interventions parked in order to have more admission beds and more professionals available who treat covid. Among the interventions that have been affected, those for endoscopies or those for arrhythmias and hemodynamics stand out, where practically only emergencies are being treated. In this centre, the Traumatology service has also reduced its activity to 50% and only operates fractures, tumours and pathologies that do not require admission.

The anaesthesia service has already started to take care of ICU patients in order to free beds. In this hospital there are 63 people admitted to the ward and 10 to the ICU, according to the workers commissions, which criticizes that there have been no reinforcements of Nursing personnel in the ICU or in paediatric emergencies. At the General Hospital of Elche, afternoon operations to lighten the waiting list have been significantly reduced and if the increase in hospitalizations continues on Wednesday, they will be cancelled. From this centre they indicate that the morning operations are maintained, but prioritizing those that do not require admission and those that are urgent have not been affected. According to information from the Nursing union, Satse, in the Marina Baixa hospital, the covid hospitalization floor maintains the number of positive admitted, with 30. In the ICU the occupation also remains with 6 positive patients, in a total of twelve beds.

The omicron variant is also infecting the health personnel of the province of Alicante. At the moment there are 501 professionals who remain on leave for having contracted the disease and another 222 are in quarantine for having been in close contact with a positive case. The week before, 396 professionals were discharged or quarantined due to the virus. Almost all the workers in hospitals and health centres in the Valencian Community have already received the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine. As with the rest of the population, most of the cases that are detected among health personnel are mild.

Benidorm spends 85% of the budget for "Parenthesis Grants"

Benidorm City Council has executed more than 85% of the budget foreseen for the “Parenthesis Grants”, financed in three ways by the Generalitat Valenciana, the Provincial Council and the local administration and aimed at alleviating the effects of the pandemic on a series of determined sectors by the Council of Ximo Puig. Some “Parenthesis Grants” to which a part of the productive industries could be accommodated and that the Benidorm City Council has complemented with various types of financed aid with 100% municipal resources – and others from the hand of the Alicante Provincial Council – to “reach all the productive industries of Benidorm without restrictions”.

The mayor, Toni Pérez, has indicated that from the very start the City Council turned to the management of these grants, “allocating all municipal and external resources for their processing”; “Extending deadlines, calls and sectors to reach the maximum possible number of companies and freelancers”, and carrying out from the Employment and Local Development Agency “an impeccable job” of “permanent coordination and contact” with associations and business groups, companies and even agencies“.

Specifically, to facilitate access to the “Parentheses”, the City Council launched 3 calls, 4 extensions of sectors and beneficiary activities were carried out, and 7 extensions of application deadlines for these benefits were approved. Finally, in Benidorm 2,094 “Parenthesis Aid” files have been processed and 1,969 grants have been granted, for a global amount of 4,447,965.51 euros, 85.37% of the budget; reintegrating to the Generalitat 479,656.56 euros.

In view of this balance and how the process has been developed, Toni Pérez has stressed that “an efficient and exemplary management has been carried out” of the aid and has pointed out that the reason why 100% has not been consumed of the budget is due to the bases and requirements “dictated and unilaterally approved by the Council”, which “limited competition” by excluding companies with more than 10 workers and circumscribing aid to certain activities.

In this sense, he recalled that “we already warned of the limitations of these bases” and in fact the Generalitat had to gradually expand the activities that could benefit from this aid. Despite the changes, activities related to the tourism sector and companies with more than 10 workers continued to be excluded.

Therefore, ultimately and to reach more beneficiaries, the City Council asked the General Directorate of Local Administration to launch a third call for “Parenthesis Aid” including more activities in response to “the socioeconomic characteristics of the municipality”, a petition that was taken care of.

The mayor has indicated that the City Council has always turned its efforts to serving the city’s productive industries and for this “it has articulated new lines of aid with municipal resources, which in many cases have served to complement the ‘Parenthesis Aid'” . Thus, only with the aid to the accommodation sector, the discount for waste receipts and the #BenidormTeEspera and #LuceBenidorm initiatives, aid amounting to close to 4.5 million euros has been granted, some of them serving more than 2,700 companies and freelancers.

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