“For the past two weeks or so we have identified that this municipality is the one where the transmission of the virus can circulate in the community. While in the other counties we always find a story, an epidemiological ‘link’, in Albufeira we already have enough cases where we couldn’t find that link ”, said Ana Cristina Guerreiro.
The official added that Albufeira is the municipality of the Algarve where the most cases of patients with Covid-19 have been registered.
As it is a small municipality, but with a large population concentration, the Delegate of Health called for people to stay at home and restrict social contacts, measures she considered “fundamental to be able to contain the situation”.
The authorities, she acknowledged, had even considered creating a sanitary cord in Albufeira, however, she concluded that “such a drastic measure” would not be necessary.
“In recent days, new cases [in Albufeira] have been growing steadily but have not skyrocketed,” she said, stressing that “the measures must be matched to the seriousness” of the situation and that the authorities remain vigilant.
At the moment, one of the major concerns of regional health authorities is to contain possible outbreaks of the disease in nursing homes and in farming communities, which are the places where, in the Algarve, more cases have appeared simultaneously.
As part of the screening campaign in nursing homes in the region, users and employees of 13 establishments in seven counties have already been tested in: Albufeira, Alcoutim, Faro, Loulé, Olhão, Portimão and Vila Real de Santo António.
With regard to the number of migrants, mostly of Asian origin, who moved to rural communities in the Algarve “in large numbers” by this time coinciding with the beginning of the fruit harvest, positive cases were detected in groups in the municipalities of Tavira , Silves and Albufeira.
Migrants, she said, are “a particular group”, for several reasons, including due to the difficulty in communication, which means that they may not be as well informed as the Portuguese.
In this sense, the authorities “are very alert” to the emergence of outbreaks in these rural communities and continue to make efforts to improve communication, namely with the creation of information “in the languages that [migrants] perceive better”.
Without providing data on the number of migrants infected in Albufeira, the official said only that the “situation is different” from other municipalities, as there is a “history of contact with patients”.
The president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve, Paulo Morgado, classified this last week as a week of “stability” in the region, which saw the increase in the number of cases in the Algarve, on average, “being less than 5 percent”.
In the areas dedicated to Covid-19 in health centres in the Algarve, where the mildest cases are followed, the number of daily visits “never exceeds” 20 and, in some areas, “it does exceeds 10”, he concluded.