The year 2021 started with lots of concerns since Aruba entered the third wave of the pandemic. January started with 280 active cases and by mid-January, they increased to 624. The government addressed this peak immediately and by the end of January, the active cases dropped to 342. Another reason for concern was the detection of the new British covid19 strain in Aruba on January 25, 2021.
One indicator to manage the virus in Aruba is the number of daily new cases, which averages currently at 35 per day. Despite it being lower than in the first half of January, it remains of great concern. The second factor is the amount of hospitalization that started in January with 7 patients and increased to 34. This situation did not occur in 2020. However, his number dropped to 18 hospitalized Covid-19 patients. The number of ICU patients is also of great concern. The year started with only 2 patients but increased to 12. This number also dropped and currently, there are 10 covid-19 patients hospitalized in the ICU.
In January, a total of 20.000 tests were done resulting in 1500 positive Covid-19 cases. January also counted 10 covid19 fatalities, a very high amount for a small island. The Prime Minister regrets these fatalities and sends prayers to those mourning their loved ones. Because Aruba was heading into the third wave, the government deemed it necessary to apply stricter public order measures originally intended to remain active until January 31, 2021. The Government decided to extend these measures for another week. In the meantime, they deliberate on the situation now with the presence of the British variant.
January brought many challenges and concerns for Aruba, as we needed to confront the third wave. More personnel and material were required, hospital care was on alert and a second floor was made available specifically for Covid-19 patients.
Thanks to the efforts of the healthcare professionals and most of the community, the third wave was limited to a controlled level.
The reality is that the virus is still present in Aruba. We should all remain cautious and keep abiding by the safety protocols. The vaccine will soon be available in Aruba, although not mandatory but highly recommended for the vulnerable population, our seniors, and those with underlying health conditions. Those who are vaccinated will be protected when they contract the real virus and may not get sick to the extent where hospitalization is required.
The Prime Minister announced that she would also be vaccinated once it is available. Her decision to get a vaccine is based on the advice of her healthcare provider. The government monitors the developments every day and adapts the preventive measures as needed.
The government will inform the community of any developments leading to a change in the taken measures.