Are Medellin and Antioquia winning the coronavirus battle? Over a period of 33 days an average of only 11 coronavirus cases per day were reported in Antioquia.

Medellín and Antioquia appear to be doing a good job of containing the growth of coronavirus in the second largest city in Colombia and in the department of Antioquia in Colombia where Medellín is located.

Medellín on May 24 had fewer coronavirus cases than several other cities in Colombia and is adding cases at a slower pace over the past 33 days (April 22 to May 24):

  • Bogotá – 7,211 cases – 5,479 new cases from April 22 to May 24 (33 days)
  • Cartagena – 2,117 cases – 1,931 new cases in 33 days
  • Cali – 1,911 cases – 1,363 new cases in 33 days
  • Barranquilla – 1,450 cases – 1,368 new cases in 33 days
  • Leticia – 1,410 cases – 1,404 new cases in 33 days
  • Villavicencio – 932 cases – 878 new cases in 33 days
  • Soledad – 812 cases – 791 new cases in 33 days
  • San Andrés de Tumaco – 464 cases – 456 new cases in 33 days
  • Medellín – 441 cases – 212 new cases in 33 days

Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia with the most cases. Villavicencio has been experiencing a major outbreak of coronavirus in a prison and there has been an outbreak of cases in the Amazon (Leticia).

In addition, four smaller cities than Medellín (Cartagena, Barranquilla San Andrés de Tumaco and Soledad), experienced outbreaks in cases and passed the larger city of Medellín in number of cases.

Also, Antioquia has fewer coronavirus cases on May 24 than in the departments of Bogotá DC, Atlántico, Valle de Cauca, Boliva, Meta and Amazonas.

  • Bogotá DC – 7,211 cases
  • Atlántico – 2,774 cases
  • Valle del Cauca – 2,425 cases
  • Bolivar – 2,267 cases
  • Amazonas – 1,450 cases
  • Meta – 968 cases
  • Antioquia – 720 cases

Coronavirus Cases in Antioquia Current Status

Colombia Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) reported the number of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 24 at – a total of 720 cases with 6 deaths.

The first coronavirus case in Antioquia was on March 9, 2020 and by May 24 at 4:30 pm, the number of cases had grown to 720.

The following chart shows the number of new coronavirus cases in Antioquia daily over a period of more than one month:

New coronavirus case counts in Antioquia daily, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

New coronavirus case counts in Antioquia daily, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

The peak of new coronavirus cases in Antioquia was reached on May 23 with 61 cases. However, this daily chart has ups and downs from day to day. So, to see a trend over the past month it is better to look at a rolling 7-day average of new coronavirus cases:

7-day rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases in Antioquia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

7-day rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases in Antioquia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

This rolling 7-day average chart shows that on average, the number of new cases started to drop in Antioquia after reaching a peak and dropped to where it averaging about four new cases per day before increasing to a new peak.

The following table shows the status of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 24 according to Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS):

Status of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 24, Source: Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS), bold are municipalities in the Aburrá Valley

Status of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 24, Source: Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS), bold are municipalities in the Aburrá Valley

On May 24, a total of 35 municipalities in Antioquia had coronavirus cases reported according to INS but only 17 of these municipalities still had an active case (isolated at home, in the hospital or in an ICU room).

A total of 575 of cases (80 percent) in Antioquia on May 24 were located in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley. Also, in Antioquia on May 24, a total of 321 cases were active according to INS. And only 11 cases in Antioquia were in the hospital or ICU with all of those in the Aburrá Valley.

According to DANE, 58.4 percent of Antioquia residents are concentrated in the Aburrá Valley, which contains only about 2 percent of the department geographically. In the Aburá Valley, and average of 3,341 people live per square kilometer.

The rest of Antioquia is more sparsely populated and averages only 44 people per square kilometer, which helps to explain why cases in Antioquia are mostly concentrated in the Aburrá Valley.

Increase in Cases in Antioquia Over the Past Week

Antioquia has experienced an increase in coronavirus cases in the past week from May 18 to 24. About one-third of the cases in this week can be attributed to the outbreaks at the EPM Hidroituango dam project and a military base in Turbo.

On May 22, EPM reported that according to analysis by Universidad de Antioquia, there were 28 infected workers on May 22 from CCCI Consortium, a contractor on the Hidroituango dam project.

The next day on May 23, another 18 positive cases were confirmed of workers on the dam project. The total on May 23 was 46 cases from the EPM dam project.

Also, EPM is reportedly awaiting the results of another 2,204 tests, which were carried out the past week. So, more infections at the major dam project are likely. Most of these EPM cases are located in the Ituango municipality near the dam.

In addition, Turbo is a municipality in Antioquia where an outbreak on a military base has added at least 10 cases in the past week.

Without the two outbreaks at the dam and military base, Antioquia averaged 18 case per day in the week from May 18 to 24, which was higher than the previous week. In addition to the two outbreaks, the increase was likely due to more people being out with some sectors of the economy starting to return to work.

Also, in Medellín in the past two days, there were reportedly 30 cases in comuna 2 (Santa Cruz) and comuna 13 (San Javier). These 30 cases correspond to only three family groups that were likely visiting each other over Mother’s Day. And 16 of these cases in Medellín were in a single family.

Are Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle?

The national quarantine in Colombia appears to be more effective in Medellín and Antioquia than in many other cities and regions in Colombia. Over the 33 days from April 22 to May 24, an average of only 6.4 coronavirus cases per day were reported in Medellín and only 11 cases per day in Antioquia.

Medellín and Antioquia have now been under quarantine for over 60 days.

Medellín experienced much fewer cases per day on average than in several other cities in Colombia over the period from April 22 to May 24:

  • Bogotá – 166.0 cases per day on average
  • Cartagena – 58.5 cases per day
  • Leticia – 42.5 cases per day
  • Barranquilla – 41.5 cases per day
  • Cali – 41.3 cases per day
  • Villavicencio – 26.6 cases per day
  • Soledad – 24.0 cases per day
  • San Andrés de Tumaco – 13.8 cases per day
  • Medellín – 6.4 cases per day

In the 33 days from April 22 to May 24, a total of 80.3 percent of the coronavirus cases in Colombia were in the eight cities of Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Leticia, San Andrés de Tumaco, Soledad and Villavicencio, with the eight cities in Colombia averaging 414 cases per day.  The rest of Colombia including Medellín during these same 33 days averaged only 102 cases per day.

We have a separate article that looks in detail at the eight cities in Colombia experiencing a major increase in coronavirus cases.

One differentiator is Pico y Cedula that restricts shopping in the populous Aburrá Valley based on the last digit of your ID. Bogotá doesn’t use Pico y Cedula and instead uses a different scheme that is based on gender but the gender -based shopping scheme in Bogotá ended on May 11.

A few other large cities in Colombia including Cali, Cartagena and Barranquilla have Pico y Cedula but reportedly started their schemes later than in the Aburrá Valley, which started using Pico y Cedula in early April.

Jardín, one of over 100 municipalities in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

Jardín, one of over 100 municipalities in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

Over 100 Municipalities in Antioquia Permitted to Lift the Quarantine

On May 21, over 100 COVID-19 municipalities in Antioquia reportedly were also given permission to lift the mandatory quarantine. But none of these municipalities are located in the Aburrá Valley.

Each of the mayors of these municipalities must decide whether to accept the proposal and issue an administrative act authorizing the reopening of establishments and companies, except for the following:

  1. Events of a public or private nature that involve crowding of people.
  2. Leisure and amusement, dance, leisure and entertainment and gaming and betting establishments and commercial premises such as casinos, bingos and video game terminals.
  3. Gastronomic establishments and establishments will be closed and will only be able to offer their products through electronic commerce, home delivery or take-out delivery.
  4. Gyms, swimming pools, sports fields, sports centers, mechanical amusement parks and playgrounds.
  5. Sports practice and group exercise in public parks and recreation areas, contact sports or practiced together.

Luis Fernando Suárez, Secretary of Government of Antioquia, said that this is the result of a request made by Antioquia Governor Aníbal Gaviria to the Ministry of the Interior.

The draft delivered to the mayors of the municipalities proposes to maintain the protection and prevention measures and implement pico y cedula to control purchases and bank transactions, permitting only one person per family to leave for those tasks.

Also, restaurants can open but only to provide home delivery or to sell products for take away. Restaurants are not allowed to have tables and consumption on site.

Other sectors such as hairdressing salons and car washes should also have special hours. The proposal is to allow them to operate from Monday to Saturday starting at 6:00 am in shifts to serve one client at a time and avoid crowds.

In addition, it was proposed that each mayor in Antioquia enact a curfew between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am while the emergency lasts, and that a prohibition of liquor consumption in commercial establishments is maintained.

Furthermore, 22 health checkpoints were implemented on the main routes of entry to the subregions in the Antioquia department, with the aim of avoiding contagion from other areas of the country or from the Aburrá Valley.

Jericó: another pueblo in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

Jericó: another pueblo in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

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: Is Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle?

Medellín and Antioquia may be winning the coronavirus battle. The number of cases in Antioquia have averaged only 11 cases per day over the 33 day period from April 22 to May 22. Also, there are over 100 municipalities in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case.

With the quarantine and other measures, Medellín and Antioquia have contained the virus and appear to be keeping COVID-19 at bay.

The bottom line is the measures that Colombia and Antioquia have put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in new coronavirus cases starting to drop in Antioquia. In addition, the spread of coronavirus throughout Antioquia was prevented with over 100 municipalities without a case.

In over 100 COVID-19 free municipalities in Antioquia, many closed places will be permitted to open, with some exceptions such as billiards, casinos and discotheques, churches, parks, gyms and sporting events.

Watch carefully the number of new cases reported in Colombia daily. Each day we update our popular article about coronavirus in Colombia with the current coronavirus statistics for Colombia, Antioquia and Medellín. Will new cases  remain low or drop lower in Medellín and Antioquia or will they increase as they did in the past week?

Also, watch the COVID-19 testing numbers in Colombia. We update our popular article about COVID-19 testing in Colombia daily. If COVID-19 testing numbers continue to increase, this is a very good thing, as this will help identify more of those who are infected in Colombia.

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Editors note: updated on May 10, 2020 with coronavirus case counts and data from May 9.

Editors note: updated on May 12, 2020 with coronavirus case counts and data from May 12.

Editors note: updated on May 25, 2020 with coronavirus case counts and data from May 24.

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