“The hospital is not ready”

Juan frets about how doctors and nurses are too exposed to the virus. After all, what are we left with if we lose those who heal us? He is concerned that those arriving in the emergency room with symptoms are not being isolated, that the protocols are not being followed, that the hospital administration is not doing its job right and the crisis is just beginning. This is the third time I talk to Juan. He works at the Ramón Ruiz Arnau University Hospital, better known as the Bayamón Regional Hospital or HURRA.

La Junta pide posponer la quiebra de Puerto Rico debido al coronavirus

La Junta de Control Fiscal tenía el pie en el acelerador de la quiebra de Puerto Rico hasta que se encontró de frente con el nuevo coronavirus, un obstáculo a sus intenciones de culminar el caso de quiebra de Puerto Rico antes de que termine el 2020. 

El ente rector anunció el sábado que pedirá a la jueza federal Laura Taylor Swain posponer la consideración del Plan de Ajuste de deuda que presentó en febrero para $35,000 millones en deuda del Gobierno central y alrededor de $50,000 millones en pensiones. “Nadie sabe, en este preciso momento, cuánto tiempo tomará superar este virus”, manifestó en un comunicado de prensa. Hace apenas dos semanas, abogados de la Junta reiteraron ante la jueza federal Laura Taylor Swain que la intención era terminar la quiebra del Gobierno antes de que comenzara una nueva administración en La Fortaleza, luego de las elecciones de noviembre. La jueza puso en agenda la vista de confirmación del Plan de Ajuste de deuda del Gobierno para finales de octubre y principios de noviembre. A preguntas del Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI), la Junta contestó el pasado martes por escrito que “en este punto, no hay valor en especular” si la emergencia del coronavirus impediría terminar la quiebra antes del nuevo año.

Puerto Rico Faces a New Crisis Lacking Public Infrastructure Investment

The Puerto Rico government named the Ramón Ruiz Arnau University Hospital (HURRA in Spanish) in Bayamón as the lead hospital on the island for critically ill patients affected by the new coronavirus, but just a few weeks ago, 23 of its isolation rooms awaited for funds to fix their negative pressure system. The latter helps control air pressure and flow in these rooms, minimizing the risk of contagion. As of Thursday afternoon, the government continued to make last-minute improvements and work to HURRA, including its isolation rooms, the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI in Spanish) found. Two sources said the institution is not fully prepared to be the main hospital in the emergency, despite it already treats suspected COVID-19 cases. HURRA also awaited for repairs to the air conditioning system, the installation of a new power generator, water heaters and an electrical circuit for X-ray, CT scan and MRI machines, electrical improvements to the clinical laboratory, rooms renovation and the rehabilitation of an entire hospital floor, among other projects.

Puerto Rico’s Special Prosecutor finds more possible severe crimes by Telegram chat members Sánchez and Miranda

While Puerto Rico’s Justice Department recommended investigating lobbyist and lawyer Elías Sánchez Sifonte for only two possible crimes, the Independent Special Prosecutor Panel (PFEI in Spanish) identified the possibility of more serious crimes as part of its preliminary investigation over the Telegram chat of former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares and eleven of his closest aides. In its initial probe, the Justice Dept. found that Sánchez Sifonte, who managed Rosselló Nevares’ campaign, may have violated local Criminal Code articles related to misuse of a public position (252) and breach of public trust (262), the latter being a potential misdemeanor. The PFEI lists more severe articles, such as undue intervention in government operations (254) and undue influence (261), both of which carry jail time of up to eight years, depending on the circumstances. Like Justice, the PFEI also found potential misuse of a public position.