Local Daily News 12th November

The reinforcement of 6,000 health workers is not enough for the Valencian Community to reach the national average

The Ministry of Health has promised that next year the workforce in hospitals and health centers will increase by 6,000 people in order to improve current assistance. However, this increase in staff is still insufficient for the Valencian Community to catch up with the national average, since according to the estimates of the Comisiones Obreras union it would still be necessary to hire 9,000 more people to be able to match the country’s average and recover the cuts that the Popular Party applied in the previous economic crisis. “In those years 10,000 jobs were lost and only 2,000 have been recovered”, highlights Rosa Atiénzar, general secretary of the Federation of Health and Social and Health Sectors of Comisiones Obreras-PV.

25% of the reinforcements that the Valencian Community needs, adds Atiénzar, “should go to Primary Care”, the most affected by the pandemic, with delays in assistance and infinitely long waiting lists for family doctors and pediatricians. She believes that the announcement of 6,000 more people is a first step, but that it has to be completed with new staff increases in the coming years. At the national level, according to data from the Ministry of Health, there is an average of 14.3 health professionals per 1,000 inhabitants. The 54,624 workers of the Ministry of Health, according to data from the 2019 structural workforce, represent an average of 10.9 workers per 1,000 inhabitants in the Valencian Community.

From the Nursing Union, Satse, they also qualify the increase in the workforce promised by the Ministry of Health as insufficient. This entity has claimed on different occasions that the Valencian Community needs 17,212 nurses to match the average of the European Union “and that the national level is also below the ratios,” laments Emilia Guevara, secretary of the Union Organization. Due to this deficit, Guevara recalls, there are still hospitals in the province that have only one nurse per floor at night. “In the afternoons there are also cases of a nurse who is in charge of 18 patients, with basically the same activities as in the morning, since patients are discharged, there are new patients admitted, and there are people who have just been operated on.”

From the Medical Union they ask The Ministry of Health to detail the distribution of the 6,000 new openings and that a good percentage be for doctors, “especially in primary care, emergency care and in some specialties with more waiting lists, as is the case of Traumatology”, highlights Víctor Pedrera, General Secretary of the Medical Union in the Valencian Community. This union also claims that the increase in the workforce announced by Ana Barceló serves to eliminate the precarious contracts that are still made in some services, such as in the Emergency Department, “where professionals continue to be hired through on-call contracts to do ordinary activity”.

People who are exempt from wearing a mask will have to prove it from now on with a report from their doctor. This is reflected in a specification published yesterday in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat Valenciana of the resolution of the 8th of October in which the use of the mask was regulated. People who have some type of illness or respiratory difficulty that may be aggravated by the use of the mask are exempt from wearing this garment. In yesterday’s correction it is added that for this “they must have a medical report, in an official document, issued by the doctor responsible for the care of the corresponding pathology, in which it is objectively and rigorously stated that the person has a disease or difficulty of the respiratory system, making them incompatible with the use of a mask”. Also exempt are those that, due to their situation of disability or dependency, “do not have the autonomy to remove the mask, or they present behavioral alterations that make its use unfeasible.”

Benidorm is introducing dimmable lights to improve safety in the El Calvari neighborhood

These lights  are new, and are much more efficient but also keep the aesthetics of the most central neighborhood of Benidorm. The Calvari uses lights that, for the first time, increase energy savings on San Roque and La Palma streets, two of the most central and busiest streets in the historic center of the municipality. In addition, they will be allowed to turn on, turn off or regulate the luminous flux at different hours of the night and on different types of roads, thus adjusting to the needs of the city and the population and that, among other measures, will improve safety.

This action is part of the Energy Efficiency project, financed with European funds, which will reach half of the lighting in the city and which will mean energy savings of up to 79%. In total, in the first phase, 2,517 light points and 54 command centers will be operated. Therefore, 73.81% of the 3,410 light points in the downtown area will be renewed. This first phase begins in El Calvari but the Old Town, its Ensanche and the neighborhoods of Foietes-Colonia Madrid and Imalsa-Els Tolls will be next. Mayor Toni Pérez explained that “the new Fernandine lights, of the ‘led’ type and therefore more efficient, will reach the rest of the streets of the neighborhood in the coming weeks; a model that will also be used in the Old Town”. But in addition, they are equipped with a system that allows them to be turned on, turned off or regulated individually or in groups depending on the different night hours and types of roads. According to the project schedule, the first phase will be completed within six months.

The global project involves an investment of 6,014,578.57 euros, of which just over 2 million will go to this first phase, awarded to SICE. An investment that is financed 50% by the City Council and by the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), which has awarded a grant of 3,007,289.28 euros from European funds.

This is the expected change in 7,808 points of light of the 14,343 that exist in the municipality, 54.44% of the municipal lighting, and it is also expected to reach all neighborhoods. In view of these figures, the mayor has stressed that “it is the most important lighting and energy project in the history of the city, comparatively, due to the number of light points and interventions that are going to be carried out.”

The first phase will reduce the installed power from 441.20 kW to 119.53 kW, which “will imply an economic and social benefit and also undoubtedly an environmental one, since CO2 emissions will be exponentially reduced”.

Once the first phase is completed, the work planned for the second will be carried out in 2022, with an estimated investment of 3.5 million euros. The rest of the investment, corresponding to phase 3, will be carried out in 2023.

The mayor explained that in the successive phases of the project they will act on the first line of Levante and Poniente, in the Ensanche de Levante, Colonia Madrid, Old Town, Downtown area, Calvari, La Cala, Els Tolls, Rincón de Loix, the main accesses to the city, Salt de l’Aigua, Alfredo Corral, surroundings of Vía Parque, Finca Barrina, Mercasa, Guillermo Amor Sports City and Parque de l’Aigüera, among others.

Coronavirus incidence is up four points, with Spain at ‘medium risk’ level and pressure on hospitals rising slightly

The incidence of the coronavirus is on an upward trend in Spain. According to the latest Health Ministry report on the pandemic, which was released on Wednesday evening, the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants currently stands at 62.7, a rise of four points from the previous figure, which was published on Monday (no report was issued on Tuesday due to a holiday in Madrid). This means that Spain is currently at the “medium risk” level. The cumulative incidence dropped below the 50-mark, considered “low risk,” on the 10th of October, and stayed there until the 4th of November when it rose above 50 once more.

According to the official data, 6,461 new infections were detected and 59 Covid-19 deaths were added to the overall toll. In total, 5,038,517 official infections have been registered in Spain since the health crisis began, with 87,617 victims.

The pressure on the country’s hospitals is also rising slightly, according to the latest figures. There are currently 1,903 patients being treated for Covid-19, an increase of 45 compared to Monday. The number of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) is also creeping up, from 400 on Monday to 403 on Wednesday.

The incidence has risen in all of the country’s regions, except the Balearic Islands, where it fell two points to 93 cases per 100,000 inhabitants from Monday to Wednesday, and Castilla-La Mancha, which saw a fall of half a point to 42.5 cases. There were also falls in the North African exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

In terms of the ongoing vaccination campaign, a total of 2,004,741 people in Spain have now received a booster shot against Covid-19. These doses are currently being offered to people considered high risk, the over-70s and the residents of care homes.

A total of 37,417,377 people have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 in Spain, which is 89% of the target population (i.e. the over-12s). Meanwhile, 38,117,778 people have been given one shot, which is 90.5% of the target population.

Speaking on Wednesday after a meeting of the Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS), which brings together the central Health Ministry and the regions, Health Minister Carolina Darias pointed to the fact that a high percentage of coronavirus patients being treated in hospitals are not vaccinated.

“It’s a recurrent pattern,” she said from the northern city of Oviedo. “The experts reiterate that many of those hospitalized are not vaccinated. Vaccines against Covid mean saving lives. We know this well. We know the importance of vaccination. This pattern repeats itself and this recognizes the importance of getting vaccinated.”

Darias added that, for now, there are no plans to alter the current restrictions and recommendations, such as the use of masks, social distancing and ventilation.

An outbreak of the coronavirus has been detected at an elementary school in Getafe, a city located in the south of the Madrid region. So far, 56 positive cases have been confirmed, mostly among students. A total of 178 more students were quarantined at home yesterday.

The outbreak took place at the Ana María Matute de Getafe school, and health authorities believe that it originated during Halloween celebrations several weekends ago.

Parents and unions are claiming that the outbreak is actually worse than officials are admitting, and have been complaining about the time it took to attend to those involved. According to the regional healthcare authority, this could be the biggest outbreak seen in a school so far.

Meanwhile, at the Pureza Santa María de Sant Cugat del Vallès school in Barcelona, 347 people – mostly children – have been confined after 38 students and three teachers tested positive for the virus.

Spain registered a total of 493,776 deaths during 2020, of which Covid-19 was the cause of death in 60,358 cases, as well as a further 14,481 where the virus was suspected to have been the cause. That’s according to figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), which also reports that mortality was up by 17.9% last year compared to 2019, with 75,000 extra fatalities.

Despite the impact of the virus, the main cause of death in 2020 was once again diseases related to the circulatory system (nearly 120,000), followed by tumors (113,000).

The biggest rise in deaths broken down by age was among the 70-79 group. Compared to 2019, these were up by 20.5%, followed by those over 80, which went up 19.5% and then the 60-69 group, which rose 14.5%.

Guardamar recovers 180 meters from the Babilonia beach and the mobile dune

Guardamar del Segura has recovered around 180 linear meters of beach. Now it will be necessary to check if this intervention, funded with more than 220,000 euros by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and carried out by the public company Tragsa, is effective in halting the serious regression that this coastal profile suffers from the advance of the sea. Especially on the beaches of Babilonia and Vivers de Guardamar, between the urban area and the south of the mouth of the river Segura.

This action has been possible thanks to the demolition at the end of August of a house on the Babilonia beach that adjoins it with that of Els Vivers, and which for a long time had been uninhabited after having been declared in ruins. The City Council executed and paid for the order to demolish the house after reaching an agreement with the owners. Between that last house and the first of the row of unique ground floor buildings, which were built in the 30s on the first line of the Babilonia beach, there were no more buildings. Between the demolished house and those that are left standing and inhabited, there was a wide free gap that is the one that the Ministry has taken advantage of to act, especially when it comes to demolishing the pavement of Ingeniero Codorniu avenue in that area and recreating the mobile dune prior to the pine forest that is the usual landscape on the Guardamar coastline in its undeveloped areas. The owners of the rest of the houses on this beach, where the sea has been gaining ground to the point that the sandy area and the porches of most of those houses have practically disappeared, are holding a legal battle against the order of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition not to renew the concession they have, that expired in July 2018, with the intention of its demolition. The matter is in the National Court that must ratify or not the precautionary that it has on that ministerial order. The works began in September and have lasted for three months. In addition, a wooden walkway will be installed to give access to the beach.

The one kilometer long beach of Babilonia has been closed for a few years. Its access is prohibited by the masses of stones and rocks that the neighbors put in front of the porches of their houses to prevent the sea from engulfing them. The houses would act as a retaining wall, as part of the plan that Engineer Mira, 30 years earlier, had devised to prevent the advance of the dunes with the planting of the pine forest, which extends in front of these single-family houses, which their owners also defend it for its uniqueness, as an architectural heritage value.

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