DOM | Jan 3, 2022

Omicron fuelling record COVID spike in the Dominican Republic

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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The Ministry of Public Health in the Dominican Republic—a Caribbean country with a spiralling COVID-19 outbreak—ramped up a testing and vaccination initiative in November 2020. Members of the National Confederation of Transport Organizations (CONATRA) were tested for the coronavirus and given influenza shots in a heightened attempt to control the epidemic. Close to 425,000 people have been confirmed infected in the Dominican Republic. (Photo: Facebook @SaludPublicaRD)

With the Omicron variant raging across large swathes of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has hit its highest-ever daily coronavirus (COVID-19) caseload three days into the new year.

The Ministry of Public Health, in its special epidemiological bulletin published on Monday (January 3), said that 2,856 new infections were confirmed in the Spanish-speaking nation.

The Dominican Republic, the second-worst hit country in the region behind Cuba, now has a cumulative coronavirus total of 424,809 cases—10,999 of which are listed as active, according to ministry data.

The fresh wave of infections started around mid-December, snowballing into the biggest spike in cases the Dominican Republic has seen in months since the onset of the pandemic.

Since December 18, 2021, officials have confirmed 12,031 new cases in the Dominican Republic over the past 16 days, with the island nation averaging 751.9 infections daily.

Monday’s report is the highest ever documented by the country—easily beating last January’s previous record of 2,370 cases in a single day (marked on January 15).

Encouragingly, 409,559 persons have made a full recovery from the infectious disease in the Dominican Republic, while 4,251 patients have died due to coronavirus-related complications.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, of the 2,261 hospital spaces available for the treatment of COVID-19, 434 are occupied. Some 114 patients are currently at an intensive care unit (ICU), while 76 are on ventilators.

Health Minister Dr Daniel Rivera, in a national address last Wednesday, said the Omicron variant is advancing rapidly in the country, as at the time the mutated strain represents 41 per cent of the cases analysed in recent days, while Delta made up the remaining 59 per cent.

Minister of Public Health in the Dominican Republic, Dr Daniel Rivera. (Photo: Salud Pública República Dominica)

Ahead of the end of the year festivities, Dr Rivera, issuing an epidemiological alert for the nation, urged Dominicans not to gather in crowds.

To this end, the traditional end-of-year musical event, “El Trabucazo Santiaguero” was cancelled.

The health ministry will continue efforts to greatly expand COVID-19 vaccination and testing centres, especially in some areas of the country, where the largest number of cases have occurred, such as the District Nacional, the provinces Santo Domingo, Santiago, as well as San Cristóbal, for which the Government is seeking private sector support.


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