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Angra do Heroísmo ,  April 09, 2020

Regional Government announces that five Azorean municipalities have ambulance and crew dedicated to COVID-19

The Regional Secretary for Health announced today that five municipalities in the Azores already have an ambulance and crew specifically dedicated to COVID-19, namely Ponta Delgada and Ribeira Grande on São Miguel Island, Angra do Heroísmo and Praia da Vitória on Terceira Island, and Horta on Faial Island.

At the moment, and due to the situation in Nordeste and Povoação on São Miguel Island, these municipalities also have a specialised ambulance with the respective crew.

Teresa Machado Luciano spoke during a hearing at the Committee on General Policy of the Legislative Assembly. On the occasion, she stressed that "this reinforcement arises from the state of emergency declaration and the evolution of the outbreak in the Region with the aim of ensuring the safety of professionals and users."

Regarding the issue of air evacuations, the Regional Secretary assured that "they are fully operational," adding that "there have been no problems so far."
“In order to overcome shortages in the national medical line, the Government created the Azores Medical Support Line, with two doctors being recruited for the validation of suspected cases,” said Teresa Machado Luciano. 

The COVID Açores computer platform was also created to assist, validate and monitor suspected cases, cases under surveillance and confirmed cases, added the government official.

As for the lines operated by the Azores Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service, the Regional Secretary added that the COVID-19 screening has already been implemented in all calls received on the Medical Emergency Line, accessible through the European emergency number 112. 

In March, this line received 2,612 calls. 

In turn, the Azores Health Line, which was expanded to nine service stations, received 8,989 calls last month: 2,847 were not related to COVID-19, 4,165 concerned doubts related to COVID-19 and 1,977 led to the identification of cases under surveillance, close contacts and suspected cases).

The Regional Secretary for Health also highlighted that “about 122 thousand text messages were sent to the Azorean population in order to raise their awareness for the adoption of protection measures, with special emphasis on the restriction of travel.”
Teresa Machado Luciano also announced the “creation of two Civil Protection multidisciplinary teams that can be deployed, if necessary, to any island of the archipelago” in order to reinforce the capacity of health services and take charge of protection and rescue operations. 

Regarding the personal protective equipment of regional civil protection agents and firefighters, Teresa Machado Luciano reiterated that "stocks are being monitored on a daily basis, as it happens in the Regional Health Service, with planned reinforcements in the short-term." 
All rescue ambulances were equipped with three biological intervention kits, namely protection goggles, disposable hooded suits, filtering respiratory protection masks (FFP2), nitrile gloves and shoe covers.

Additionally, the President of the Azores Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service, who was also at this hearing, stated that the sanitary cordons established on the island of São Miguel currently involve 150 troops, an effort that has been undertaken with “the commitment and dedication of all agents involved."
Carlos Neves assured that all professionals were equipped with personal protective equipment, adding that 14 checkpoints and 16 fences have been installed throughout the island of São Miguel, with plans for the installation of another three fences.



Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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