Virus deaths surge in Tijuana, critical period extended for another week

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 12:59:47-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) – The first couple of weeks of this month are supposed to be the deadliest in Baja but now that's been extended, according to 10News’ media partner, Televisa Tijuana.

The COVID-19 mortality rate is crippling operations across the border. Televisa journalist Estephania Baez told 10News that one of Tijuana's main hospitals is also struggling with sick staff members. “There were more than a dozen medical workers that tested positive. This means they were sent home and this means we don't have sufficient medical personal [like] nurses and doctors as well,” she added.

Last week, 10News reported that local health officials revealed that Baja would have the largest spike in cases and deaths within the first two weeks of May, but Baez said Mexican authorities announced on Monday that they have extended the time frame by another week.

“This weekend, the Administration flew out the Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Homeland Security,” said San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar on Monday. She told 10News that Dr. Alex Eastman is working on a possible resolution after she wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence calling in part for mutual aid to Mexico to treat patients there, more PPE on both sides of the border and the set-up of a temporary border hospital. “He learned of the challenges that we have. He learned of San Diego's strong desire to keep the border open and do things in a way that protects public health,” she added.

Sup. Gaspar has said that U.S. citizens living in Mexico are crossing into the U.S. to seek care for the virus in the South Bay hospitals. Both Scripps and Sharp hospitals in Chula Vista have seen an increase in COVID-19 patients and have also asked for federal aid.

Monday afternoon, a representative of Sharp HealthCare wrote the following to 10News.

“We are presently busy but not overwhelmed. Around 40 percent of our positive COVID-19 cases are at Sharp Chula Vista, around 27 percent at Sharp Memorial, 25 percent at Sharp Grossmont and six percent at Sharp Coronado.”