PAMI chief Luana Volnovich warned Saturday that the public health agency has no more Covid-19 intensive care beds available for pensioners and retirees in Buenos Aires City.
The La Campóra leader and ex-lawmaker – who leads the state-run PAMI (Programa de Atención Médica Integral) institute responsible for the healthcare and other social services of pensioners – also said the agency’s ICU beds in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) were nearing 100 percent occupancy.
"My medical secretary just called me to inform me that there are no COVID intensive care beds for PAMI members in CABA [Buenos Aires City] and we are close to 100 percent occupancy for intensive care beds in AMBA. We are at a critical moment. The increase in contagion impacts upon the entire health system," the PAMI said in a post on Twitter.
Argentina has been hit hard by a Covid-19 second wave over the past week, with a steep jump in infections. More than 120,000 infections have been registered over the past six days.
"At PAMI we are receiving 16,000 emergency calls per day, when there are usually between 5,000 and 6,000. We work in a coordinated manner with the State and the private sector, but it is essential to take quick measures because the growth of cases is very high," said Volnovich.
"Argentines, let us be conscientious. Let us be careful. Let us respect [sanitary] measures while the vaccination progresses. It is time to take better care of ourselves," concluded the head of PAMI, which serves around 4.5 million pensioners and accounts for around 70 percent of all public hospital payments.
The Health Ministry on Saturday confirmed an additional 19,419 new cases over the preceding 24 hours, taking Argentina past the 2.5 million barrier since the crisis began. To date, 57,647 fatalities have been recorded.
Officials said Saturday that 3,761 individuals with Covid-19 were in intensive care units receiving treatment, with ICU bed occupancy rates at 59.1 percent nationwide and 68.1 percent in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA).
The government announced Friday that a record number of vaccinations had been given in Argentina in a single day, more than 245,000. A total of 755,851 jabs were given over a five-day period, from last Monday to last Friday.
To date, around 4.5 million people have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, with 722,520 having received both the first and second shot. A total of 7,051,596 vaccines have been distributed to regional governments across the country.