PR Department of Health Still has Problems Producing Correct and Updated COVID-19 Data

A little over a month ago, Department of Health Secretary Lorenzo González Feliciano made an ambitious announcement about a collaboration between his agency and the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics to share raw data and information on a daily basis about who is getting tested for COVID-19, but the agency admitted having a hard time delivering the agreed upon information. The Institute of Statistics web page is one week behind on most of the data related to the COVID-19 pandemic and lacks essential information to understand the evolution of infections and deaths from the disease. The Department of Health has not yet provided the Institute of Statistics with updated data on “unique” negative cases, those that are pending and inconclusive, and the total number of tests performed, segregated by type of test (molecular or serological), and according to the date on which they were done. This information is essential to determine if there has been a real drop in confirmed COVID-19 cases, which was the argument that Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced used to begin the second phase of the economic reopening this week. The “unique” case is a new category created by the Department of Health that refers to the data that has been revised, after more than a month of reporting the figures incorrectly, even possibly doubling or tripling them.

Center for Investigative Journalism gets $100,000 from Facebook Journalism Project

The Facebook Journalism Project announced today it is awarding $16 million in funds to support the operations of more than 200 news organizations in the United States and the territories. Among those selected is the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish), which will receive a contribution of $100,000 for its coverage related to the coronavirus pandemic through investigations, fact checking and litigation. The CPI was chosen among 2,000 news outlets that competed for the COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program. Almost 40% of the media outlets selected are digital publications and just over one-third are nonprofit entities. Campbell Brown, vice president of global news partnerships at Facebook, said about the staff of the selected entities that: “Not only are these journalists working tirelessly to serve people right now, but they’re focused on transformation, building innovative local news businesses that can continue to serve communities beyond the current pandemic.”

In keeping with the goal of the funding program, which aims to lay the foundation for the selected media outlet’s sustainability, in the CPI’s case, it will be invested in journalists, photojournalists, analysts and data experts, litigation expenses, equipment, publication in social networks, as well as in the general administration of the organization’s operations, among other areas.

Hundreds of employees file complaints in OSHA against employers in midst of pandemic

The Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Administration (PROSHA) received 680 complaints against employers related to the COVID-19 crisis from March 14 to April 29. Of those complaints, at least 124 were reported in April between the 1st and the 29, just before the government began the partial reopening after the curfew, and in the same week that the number of cases of infection by COVID-19 was expected to peak. The Department of Labor and Human Resources (DTRH, in Spanish) sent a chart where the total number of complaints differed from the figures it provided in writing to answer specific questions from the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish). The DTRH’s data shows that of the pandemic-related complaints filed against employers who kept their operations going during the quarantine, at least 50 come from hospital employees and eight from health service centers throughout the island. Among these: the HIMA Hospital in Bayamón; Auxilio Mutuo in San Juan; Menonita in Humacao; San Pablo in Caguas; Perea in Mayagüez; La Concepción in San Germán; and, Pavía in Toa Baja.