As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect everyone around the globe, we keep praying for the health and safety of your communities and Nicaragua. And we are incredibly grateful for your ongoing support, friendship, and prayers.
As of July 21st, Nicaraguan health authorities have officially confirmed 3,439 cases of COVID-19 within our borders and 108 deaths from it. Even though weeks ago it was believed that most cases were concentrated in the capital city of Managua, several sources are now indicating that outbreaks are taking place in other areas as well. In light of the current situation, the government recently announced that the annual celebration of the Sandinista Revolution (July 19th) will be held virtually. This is normally one of the largest gatherings of people each year, with tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of people coming into Managua from all parts of the country for the event.
Also in the past 3 weeks, we received news through our health promoters of 2 confirmed cases in our rural communities, but we are extremely grateful that we are not seeing a significant outbreak. Health promoters in these communities have been in touch by phone with the affected families to counsel them to self-quarantine, which symptoms to watch for, and to provide accompaniment and words of hope. Please keep these families and communities in your prayers.
This pandemic has imposed a new reality for everyone, and its end is still unknown. Until a vaccine or an effective drug is successfully created, produced, and distributed, we will continue to adapt to this new reality, take recommended precautions from the World Health Organization (WHO), and remain committed to the health and well-being of the vulnerable communities we serve.
As of July 1st, our leadership team decided to:
- Resume operations in our 2 Managua health clinics in Nejapa and Villa Guadalupe, beginning on July 1st, with a reduced daily schedule from 7am – 1:30pm, or until the last patient is cared for. Clinic staff members continue to use personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times and follow prevention protocols, including handwashing, social distancing when possible, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, and keeping patients with respiratory symptoms in a separate triage waiting area.
- Resume supportive supervision rounds to the rural communities you help us serve. Starting on July 21st, teams of 2-3 people will begin visiting rural communities to provide ongoing accompaniment, reinforce prevention measures in the communities, and assess the conditions of the community clinics to face the new context. Staff will follow strict protocols during their trips, including the use of personal protective equipment, frequent use of hand sanitizer, avoiding stops on the way, and practicing social distancing. During these initial visits, AMOS staff will meet only with the Health Promoter of the community and will not gather with health committee members, hold community health events, or perform home visits. We will suspend in-person supervision rounds to the communities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or those with neighboring communities with confirmed cases.
- Continue instructing Health Promoters to suspend non-emergency clinic visits and home visits. Health promoters will continue to provide health care during emergencies only, which may include helping pregnant moms and children under 5 years old with signs of danger, and suturing wounds. We will continue to provide them and members of the emergency transportation committees with personal protective equipment, and when seeing patients, they will use their personal protective equipment, follow prevention measures, disinfect touched areas, and when possible, keep a distance of 2 meters between them. Health promoters have been asked to immediately report to AMOS if any patient shows symptoms of COVID-19 or if a suspicious case arises in their communities.
- Resume operations at the AMOS campus for staff members who are unable to work from home. All staff members are required to wear a mask and practice COVID-19 prevention measures, such as frequent handwashing and social distancing.
As of today, major airlines are expected to resume operations in Nicaragua starting on August 1st. This week, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health announced that all travelers coming to Nicaragua will need to provide a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test performed less than 72 hours before entering the country. Non-Nicaraguans with fever or respiratory illness symptoms will not be allowed to enter the country, and Nicaraguans with symptoms will be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days upon re-entry.
As we hear of more cases of COVID-19 in the United States and around the world, we continue to pray for you and your communities. We are grateful for your ongoing support, prayers, and love for our staff and for the Nicaraguan families we serve, especially during these times of adversity and uncertainty. Our leadership team will continue to monitor the situation as it progresses and keep you all updated accordingly.
May God bless you abundantly.