Four out of ten critically ill patients with Covid-19 at Prevent Senior have died, city department report says

SAO PAULO — About 40% of patients hospitalized in serious condition with Covid-19 in the Prevent Senior network in 2020 died, according to data presented on Thursday by Covisa, a Sanitary Surveillance agency linked to the Municipal Health Department, to the CPI of the Prevent Senior, from the Municipality of São Paulo. The number is greater than the 22% cited by the operator’s director, Pedro Batista, in testimony to the CPI of Covid, of the Federal Senate.

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According to Luiz Artur Vieira Caldeira, coordinator of Covisa, Prevent Senior notified 7,705 cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2020, among which 5,431 were caused by Covid-19. Of this total, 2,210 died, a mortality rate of approximately 40%. In 2021, the percentage dropped to 35.16%. The numbers are part of the Sivep-Gripe system, the official Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome database.

The president of the CPI, councilor Antonio Donato (PT), said at the end of the session that the numbers presented by Covisa caused “astonishment” by the “high mortality rate in Prevent’s hospitals”.

— It is a line of investigation by the CPI that is beginning to work — said the PT member.

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The representative of Covisa also said in testimony to the CPI that he asked the State Department of Health to temporarily intervene in the Prevent Senior hospitals that were not complying with health standards in the Covid-19 pandemic. The document, sent to the agency on March 27, 2020, has not yet been answered.

The intervention request was prepared after two inspections by Covisa in hospitals of the health operator. The first inspection, carried out on March 18 of last year, verified a series of irregularities, such as: delay in the notification of suspected and confirmed cases and deaths of Covid-19; concentration of suspected cases from the entire Prevent network at the Paraíso unit, which caused a sudden increase in demand and overcrowding; absence of tests for investigation of influenza; absence of notification of suspected outbreak of in-hospital Covid-19 infection; insufficient amount of kit for confirmation of coronavirus cases; in addition to the hospitalization, in the same environment, of patients with similar symptoms, but who had no confirmation of the disease.

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After verifying non-compliance with sanitary norms and failures in the process of preventing and controlling the disease’s infection, Covisa opened a sanitary administrative proceeding and fined the company. A series of technical guidelines were made, and Prevent Senior itself committed to making the adjustments.

On March 23, Covisa carried out a new inspection, where it continued to check for irregularities. One of them, reported by Caldeira, was the failure to fill in part of the death reports written by the company. After that, a letter was sent to the state health department asking for measures:

— We request temporary intervention in the Sancta Maggiore, Paraíso, Pinheiros and Paulista units until the institution complies with the norms of the current sanitary code. Along with the notification, a copy of the complete inspection report was sent,” said Caldeira.

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Until today, according to him, there has been no official response from the State. The only measure that Covisa was aware of was the carrying out of a state inspection, but the result of which was not communicated.

Next steps

At the end of the first session of the CPI, councilors approved a request requesting the appearance of a representative of the state health secretariat to explain the absence of a response to Covisa. Next Thursday, the commission receives Jorge Venâncio, from the National Research Ethics Commission, and lawyer Bruna Morato, who represented 12 doctors at the Senate CPI.

Among the names called to appear at the commission in the coming weeks are Tadeu Frederico de Andrade, patient of the prevent who testified to the CPI of the Senate; Irene Abramovich, president of the Regional Council of Medicine of the State of São Paulo; and Mauro Luiz de Britto Ribeiro, president of the Federal Council of Medicine.