Coronavirus in Colombia: We look at current Coronavirus statistics in Colombia and the measures taken by Colombia to minimize the threat of COVID-19.

Colombia Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) reported the number of coronavirus cases in Colombia on July 22 – a total of 4,692,570 cases (up +12,576 new daily cases from July 21) with 117,836 deaths.

Also on July 22, Colombia reported 13,477 new recoveries and a total of 4,449,027 recoveries, as of this date. Furthermore, on July 22, Colombia had 112,463 active coronavirus cases.

Only 2.40 percent of total coronavirus cases in Colombia were active on July 22 and 94.81 percent were recovered.

Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about the current status of coronavirus in Colombia. So, we look at coronavirus cases in Colombia.

As of July 22, 2021, at 2:00 pm, according to Worldometers over 200 countries and territories in the world have reported that over 193,166,500 people have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, known as SARS-CoV2. And over 4,147,300 people have died from this virus worldwide and over 175,553,300 have recovered.

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

In addition, there are a number of myths out there about coronavirus that are simply not true. So, we also look at four of these myths in this article.

There was a nationwide quarantine in Colombia that began on March 24. Colombia’s initial nationwide quarantine was originally ending on April 13 but it has been extended eight times but ended on September 1:

  1. On April 6, was extended to April 26
  2. On April 20, was extended to May 11.
  3. A third time was extended to May 25
  4. A fourth time was extended to May 31
  5. A fifth time was extended to June 30
  6. On June 23, was extended a sixth time to July 15
  7. On July 7, was extended a seventh time to August 1
  8. On July 28, was extended an eighth time to September 1

So, the national quarantine in Colombia was for 160 days and was one of the longest in the world the quarantine officially ended on September 1.

Colombia is now in a “selective Isolation” phase , which prioritizes the tracing of contacts, infections and suspects and reactivates economic and social life. Also, the health emergency in Colombia has been extended to May 31, 2021. Colombia is now using nightly curfews in some cities.

Coronavirus Cases in Colombia

The first coronavirus case in Colombia was on March 7, 2020 and by July 22, 2021 the number of cases had grown to 4,692,570 cases. The following chart shows the 7-day rolling average of daily cases in Colombia for the past few months.

7-day rolling average of daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, source Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) July 22

7-day rolling average of daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, source Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) July 22

As of July 22, the rolling 7-day average of new daily cases has dropped in 23 of the past 24 days in a row.

Coronavirus Cases By Department in Colombia

The following table shows the total number of cases of coronavirus in Colombia in the departamentos (departments or states) in Colombia on July 22, according to INS. Also, the table includes the number of new daily cases by departmento on July 22.

Coronavirus counts on July 22, source Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) July 22

Coronavirus counts on July 22, source Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) July 22

Coronavirus Cases in the Aburrá Valley

We look coronavirus case counts on July 22 in the 10 municipalities in the Aburrá Valley metropolitan area where Medellín is located with the change from the prior day in parenthesis (if any change) and the date of the last case in the municipality:

  • Medellín – 381,768 cases (+932) 22-July
  • Bello – 58,272 cases (+128) – 22-July
  • Itagüí – 45,754 cases (+123)– 22-July
  • Envigado – 28,379 cases (+39) – 22-July
  • Caldas – 13,855 cases (+35) – 22-July
  • Sabaneta – 11,281 cases (+20) – 22-July
  • Copacabana – 7,654 cases (+10) – 22-July
  • La Estrella – 6.503 cases (+16) – 22-July
  • Girardota – 3,799 cases (+14) – 22-July
  • Barbosa – 2,462 cases (+18) – 22-July

On July 22, the 10 municipalities in the Aburrá Valley had a total of 559,951 confirmed coronavirus cases. And 15,366 cases were active in Antioquia on this date. Also, on July 22 the ICU occupation in Antioquia was 94.63 percent out of a total of 1,379 ICUs available in Antioquia.

Coronavirus Cases in Other Cities in Colombia

We look at coronavirus cases in five other cities in Colombia daily, this is data from July 22.

  • Bogotá – 1,389,729 cases (+3,460) 22-July
  • Cali – 254,925cases (+1,693) 22-July
  • Barranquilla – 192,118 cases (+265) – 22-July
  • Cartagena – 116,649 cases (+344) – 22-July
  • Santa Marta – 61,297 cases (+146) – 22-July

As of July 22, Bogotá was the city in Colombia impacted most in Colombia by coronavirus with 1,389,729 cases, which was 29.6 percent of the total cases in Colombia on this date.

If you want to see coronavirus case counts in other cities and towns in Colombia you can see this on the Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) website. There is a muncipio tab where you can find detailed coronavirus information by municipality in Colombia.

COVID-19 Vaccination Status in Colombia

EDITOR NOTE: this section is NOT yet updated for July 22, update to be completed no later than July 23 when detailed data is available from Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) .

As of July 21, Colombia had completed administering a total of 24,230,595 COVID-19 vaccine doses and completed administering 230,086 daily doses on July 21.

On July 21, the three areas in Colombia with the most COVID-19 vaccine doses administered are:

  • Bogotá – 4,530,481 doses
  • Antioquia – 3,601,781 doses
  • Valle del Cauca – 2,184,542 doses

Some readers have commented that Colombia has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccinations in the world. But this is not true. 

According to CNN, over 100 countries have administered fewer COVID-19 vaccination doses per 100 in population than in Colombia, including many countries such as Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Ecuador, Peru and Japan that have lower vaccination rates.

COVID-19 Testing in Colombia

On July 22, 2021, Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) in Colombia reported that it had completed a total of 21,876,392 COVID-19 tests in Colombia.

This means that Colombia has completed 429,248 COVID-19 tests per million people in Colombia based on a population of 50.96 million.

We compare this COVID-19 testing in Colombia with several other countries in Latin America as well to the U.S., UK and South Korea in the following table.

COVID-19 testing in several countries, source of data Worldometer and countries, July 22

COVID-19 testing in several countries, source of data Worldometer and countries, July 22

For the week of July 12 to July 18, 2021, Colombia averaged 86,630 tests per day. In addition, the most tests Colombia has completed in one day was on June 23, 2021 with 127,955 tests.

We have a separate article that looks at COVID-19 testing in Colombia in more detail.

Active Cases in Colombia

On July 22, Colombia had 112,463 active coronavirus cases. The majority of active coronavirus cases in Colombia are isolated at home and treated at home. 

The number of active cases in Colombia has started to drop many days with more recoveries and deaths stating to happen than new cases on some days. The following chart shows the total active cases in Colombia by day:

Total active coronavirus cases by day in Colombia, source: Worldometers, July 22

Total active coronavirus cases by day in Colombia, source: Worldometers, July 22

Colombia Coronavirus Death Rate

On July 22, Colombia reported a total of 117,836 deaths from coronavirus, which was a daily increase of 354 reported deaths from the previous day on July 21.

On July 22, Colombia reported a total of 117,836 deaths and a total of 4,692,570 coronavirus cases.

The death rate in Colombia varies based on age and we have a separate article that looks at the coronavirus death rate in Colombia by age and compares to other countries.cases, the overall coronavirus death rate in Colombia among confirmed cases on July 22 was 2.51 percent.

Note that there is a lag between the dates of actual deaths from coronavirus and reporting of deaths. So, the above chart of daily reported deaths does not show the true picture.

For example, the following chart shows that on June 11, 2021, 493 of the 569 reported deaths on that date actually occurred on earlier dates. This chart shows that the daily coronavirus deaths by actual death dates in Colombia (not reported dates) have been declining since mid-January.

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia on the actual dates of deaths, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, June 11

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia on the actual dates of deaths, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, June 11

Coronavirus Deaths in Other Countries in Latin America and the World

On July 22, Colombia was ranked #12 in the World in terms of coronavirus deaths per million according to Worldometers. Two countries in Latin America had a higher coronavirus death rate per million population than Colombia. The following are country rankings for deaths per million in several Latin American countries from Worldometers on July 22.

  • Peru #1
  • Brazil #10
  • Colombia #12
  • Argentina #13
  • Mexico #22
  • Chile #23
  • Panama #35

Many foreign tourists that arrived in Colombia in early 2020 renewed tourist visas to enable staying in Colombia for up to 180 days instead of returning to their home country where coronavirus case counts are much higher and increasing at alarming rates.

In addition, some of these foreign tourist are pursuing Colombian visas to enable staying in Colombia longer.

What is Colombia Doing About Coronavirus?

On March 19, 2020, President Iván Duque announced that starting on March 23 the arrival of international travelers to Colombia will be suspended for a period of 30 days including banning incoming international flights. This ban includes all travelers including Colombians and foreigner residents. International flights were banned until international flights resumed starting on September 19. 

The following measures were put in place starting on March 12 in Colombia to minimize the public health threats posed by coronavirus.

All events with more than 50 people must be cancelled in Colombia starting on March 16. This impacts many planned events in Colombia. So, many events including concerts, conventions and other large events are cancelled.

In addition, Colombia has suspended the transit of cruise ships to Colombia.  Furthermore, at 5:00 am on March 14 Colombia closed its border with Venezuela Also, starting on March 17, Colombia closed all its land, sea and river borders, which were still closed until November 1. The border closure restricted the entry and exit from Colombia.

Flatten the coronavirus case curve, source CDC

Flatten the coronavirus case curve, source CDC

Why Quarantine and Other Measures? – Flatten the Curve

With a nationwide quarantine, Colombia was trying to avoid a rapid spike of coronavirus cases that could overwhelm the health care system in Colombia by “flattening the curve,” or spreading out the number of coronavirus cases over a longer period.

Mitigation efforts like a quarantine, cancelling international flights, closing places where people congregate and limiting the size of events and quarantines are mitigation efforts that can reduce the number of daily cases and reduce pressure on the healthcare system in Colombia.

Colombian acted faster than most countries in putting in place measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The following table compares how many days from the first case of coronavirus in several countries until putting in place measures like closing schools nationwide or closing incoming air travel.

How many days from first coronavirus case in countries until put in place preventive measures, March 23, 2020

How many days from first coronavirus case in countries until put in place preventive measures, March 23, 2020

What is Coronavirus and How Does it Compare to the Flu?

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Myth 1 – If you have coronavirus, “you will know”

Not really, COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms, many of which are common in other respiratory illnesses such as the common cold or flu.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, similar to other respiratory illnesses. And rarer symptoms include nausea, dizziness, vomiting and a runny nose.

In severe cases of COVID-19, the disease can progress into a serious pneumonia-like illness — but early on, infected people may show no symptoms at all.

The virus causes mild respiratory infections in about 80 percent of those infected, though up to half will have pneumonia. Another 15 percent develop severe illness, and about 5 percent need critical care.

Myth 2 – Coronavirus is less deadly than the flu

Reportedly the COVID-19 coronavirus has a transmissibility rate estimated from 2.0 to 2.5 people that an infected person typically makes sick. This compares to the flu (influenza) with a transmissibility rate from 1.3 to 1.8 people. And SARS has a transmissibility rate from 2 to 4 people.

Case-fatality ratio is the number of people killed by disease divided by the number of people confirmed to catch it. Seasonal flu, technically kills a relatively small proportion of its cases, with a case-fatality ratio of around 0.1 percent.

The reason the flu is a major public health problem is because it infects many people, 35.5 million in the U.S. from 2018 to 2019, which led to 490,000 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths.

SARS had a case-fatality rate of 10 percent, about 100 times higher than influenza, and the rate for the new coronavirus case-fatality rate is reportedly about 3.4 percent of reported cases.

Myth 3 – Children and young adults are more likely to die from coronavirus infections

The China CDC reported on February 11 based on data from 72,314 cases of those diagnosed with COVID-19 and found that older adults in China have been hit the hardest by COVID-19:

  • 14.8 percent death rate for those infected with ages 80 and older,
  • 8 percent for ages 70 to 79,
  • 3.6 percent for ages 60 to 69,
  • 1.3 percent for 50 to 59,
  • 0.4 percent for the age group 40 to 49,
  • 0.2 percent for people ages 10 to 39,
  • No deaths in children under 9 reported.

We have a separate article about the coronavirus death rate in Colombia with death rates being experienced in Colombia by age.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

According to the CDC in the U.S.:

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness like COVID-19 with everyday preventive actions.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Also, if you are sick to keep from spreading respiratory illness like coronavirus to others you should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with tissues, then throw the tissues in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wear a face-mask if you are sick and around other people.
Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, photo by Chad Davis

Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, photo by Chad Davis

Myth 4 – Face masks can completely protect you from the virus

Standard face masks cannot completely protect you, as they are not designed to block out viral particles and they do not lay flush to the face. A more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can protect against the virus.

According to the CDC:

Face masks are loose-fitting and provide only barrier protection against droplets, including large respiratory particles. Most face masks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales.

So, a standard face masks can’t totally protect you from the virus. But China and other countries in Asia have using face masks widely. George Gao, Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even said:

The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.

If everyone wore a mask, then those in public who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic would not so easily spread to others.

Colombia has 24 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Colombia has 24 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Healthcare in Colombia

Colombia has 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America, according to a study in late 2019 by América Economia. So, 41 percent of the best hospitals in Latin America are found in Colombia. Nine of these best hospitals in Latin America are located in Medellín and nine are in Bogotá.

In 2017, Colombia had 20 of the top 49 clinics and hospitals in Latin America. And in 2018, Colombia had 23 of the top 58 hospitals. So, the count in 2019 has increased to 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America for 2019.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia’s healthcare system as #22 out of 191 countries it ranked. And no other countries in Latin America were ranked higher than Colombia. So, according to WHO, Colombia has the best healthcare system in Latin America.

Also, Colombia’s healthcare system is ranked higher than many wealthier countries like the United States (#37), Germany (#25), Canada (#30) and Australia (#32).

In Colombia, it is possible to have access to world-class healthcare at a fraction of the cost compared to the healthcare costs in North America or Europe. Furthermore, the costs for healthcare in Colombia can be significantly lower than the costs found in the U.S.

Due to having the best healthcare system in Latin America, Colombia is probably better positioned than many other countries in Latin America to handle coronavirus.

Health Insurance in Colombia

Health insurance is relatively inexpensive in Colombia and will cover you if you happen to catch COVID-19.

One of the reasons that Colombia has such a highly rated healthcare system is due to a new constitution that Colombia drafted in 1991 that made access to healthcare a basic human right to all citizens of Colombia, as well as foreign residents of Colombia.

There are three types of health insurance available in Colombia:

  1. EPS – Entidadas Promotoras de Salud– this is the public health insurance that is mandatory for everybody who is a resident of Colombia. The monthly premium is calculated as 12.5 percent of the monthly gross income that you declare to the EPS.
  2. Prepagada – this is private healthcare insurance in Colombia. The monthly premium for Prepagada varies depending on your age, the plan you choose and any pre-existing conditions.
  3. SISBEN – this is a free government subsidized healthcare system, which is only for very poor or homeless Colombians.

Medellin Guru has partnered with an insurance agent to offer health insurance and other insurance products like life insurance, homeowners insurance and auto insurance to foreigners and Colombians.

We partnered with Angela Berrio, who is a bilingual insurance agent who speaks English and Spanish. And she has many foreigner clients.

In less than 15 months of offering insurance services, over 130 Medellin Guru readers have obtained insurance through our partnership including health insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance and travel insurance.

This service is easy to use, just click on the button below to get started.

Use the Medellin Guru Insurance Service

We highly recommend using a bilingual insurance agent to sign up for insurance in Colombia instead of trying to sign up yourself. Everything for signing up for insurance in Colombia is in Spanish and the forms can be complicated to fill out. And Angela will take care of signing you up for the Colombian insurance that is appropriate for your situation.

Number to Call in Medellín if You Think You Have Coronavirus

Medellín uses the 123 emergency phone number for coronavirus reports.

People who in the last two weeks have been in countries where the virus circulates, and who have symptoms such as cough, fever, nasal congestion and muscle fatigue, or who have been in contact with patients who meet with the above criteria can call this emergency number.

Medellín asks residents to make responsible use of this single line of emergencies, and also recommends consulting EPS health insurance websites.

Also, we have a separate article that looks at how to get a COVID-19 test in Medellín.

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series

Medellin Guru has a series of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts in Colombia: Also, these articles are being kept up-to-date, as this is a fast-moving topic:

The Bottom Line: Coronavirus in Colombia: Current Status

The bottom line is that Colombia had a total of 4,692,570 coronavirus cases as of July 22, 2021 but 94.81 percent of these cases have recovered.

Also, the number of active cases have gone from 160,000 active cases in August 2020 to drop to 112,463 active cases on July 22, 2021.

Coronavirus is a fast-moving topic. So, Medellin Guru will be updating this popular article daily.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on July 20, 2021 at 10:55 pm with current coronavirus case counts for July 20.

Editors note: updated on July 21, 2021 at 10:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts for July 21.

Editors note: updated on July 22, 2021 at 10:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts for July 22.

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