Holguinera doctor Yaritza Pérez Peña fought her first face-to-face battle with the Covid-19
By Germán Veloz Placencia
March 19, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
I’m listening to Dr. Yaritza Perez Pena on the phone. Her voice sounds strange because she’s wearing a nasobuco [face mask]. I confess that I am anxiously looking for this contact and that she has more admirers behind her. I wish, I tell her, that from the Military Hospital of Holguin, where she is now in quarantine, she will share details of the moments in which, thinking of human beings, with her clear vision as a doctor, she fought her first face-to-face combat with the Covid-19.
“It was at the Hotel Rio de Oro, in the municipality of Rafael Freyre. She worked at the International Clinic of Guardalavaca and was on duty at the hotel’s Medical Post, where a Canadian guest arrived, at the suggestion of Mariluz Claro, the room’s waitress. She detected that the tourist had a cough, vomiting and diarrhea.
“Mariluz didn’t waste any time. She was alert and also warned her superiors about the case. This is what all the hotel staff was told to do when they trained staff to act at times like this. Together with nurse Marilín Oramas, I concluded that we were facing a suspicious case of the new coronavirus and we isolated it right there, to cut the chain of contacts with other people”.
She tells details about the operation of isolating the patient and his subsequent transfer to Villa El Cocal, in order to carry out the test expeditiously, which, sent to the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of the Provincial Center of Hygiene, Epidemiology, and Microbiology in Santiago de Cuba, proved positive.
Yaritza Pérez, since she was a student at the University of Medical Sciences of Holguín, has prepared herself to face contingencies like this, she assures us. Then in Brazil, during her second mission as a collaborator, she faced severe outbreaks of zika, dengue and malaria, and implemented well-designed medical protocols. But the new coronavirus has great contagious power and collective vigilance to detect cases and prevent their spread cannot be compromised, she says.
She says that in the 26 de Julio neighborhood in Rafael Freyre, her son, husband, parents and siblings are keeping an eye on their progress during the period of isolation, and that is great emotional support. She is also called by her colleagues at the clinic.
“Mariluz, Marilín and I remain asymptomatic, just like the rest of the people we contact with the patient. We will be isolated for about 14 days, which is the incubation time of Covid-19. We feel protected by the staff of the Military Hospital. They have been very gentle with everyone.
In hands like those of these names, the Cuban family is well protected. The best thing is that, throughout the island, there are thousands like them.