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Baja braces for 2 week 'largest spike' in COVID-19 cases, deaths

Posted at 5:02 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 22:30:15-04

BAJA, Calif. (KGTV) - Baja California is bracing for its largest spike in COVID-19 cases and fatalities, according to a recent report.

There are now more than 1,800 positive cases in Baja, according to Televisa Tijuana News, a media partner of 10News.

“It's really a critical situation here,” says Televisa journalist Estephania Baez. “Federal authorities have said that Baja California or even Tijuana could be like the epicenter of this pandemic here in Mexico,” she adds.

According to a report from San Diego County health officials, "data indicates that the first two weeks of May will have the largest spike of viral transmissions and fatalities.” Officials warn that Baja is experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment, ventilators, COVID-19 tests, and healthcare personnel. They also report that COVID-19 hospitals are at or near capacity.

“What we can perceive as reporters on the streets is that people are going out again,” says Baez, adding, “In the past five days, we've seen an increase in border wait times even up to six hours. She also says, “People are not seeing the importance of the situation.”

To deal with a potential new overflow in patients, this past weekend the Tijuana Zonkeys basketball auditorium was converted to a clinic.

Baez says the messages to locals about the severity of the situation have been mixed. “On one side we have our federal authorities saying that everything is going to be okay [and] that we are equipped but we have the doctors and nurses screaming for help through their social media platforms,” she tells 10News.

San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar has called for federal aid to hospitals in the South Bay that are seeing a surge in COVID-19 patients. She recently told 10News that many of the patients are Americans who live in Mexico but are crossing back for treatment.