Hundreds of maquiladora workers pour into Tijuana hospitals with virus symptoms


People lined up for hours on Monday hoping to get a COVID-19 test outside an IMSS clinic in Tijuana. (Jose Luis Camarillo/El Sol de Tijuana)

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Several medical facilities that are part of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in Tijuana have been “saturated” with patients in recent days, people complaining of respiratory issues.

Most are described as maquiladora workers who showed up to work with flu-like symptoms and were sent to get tested.

The president of the maquiladora association in Otay Mesa, Salvador Díaz González, says this is a sign that his industry is taking the COVID-19 health screenings seriously.

“To this day, we have followed protocols and if a worker has symptoms we have to direct them to a medical facility,” he told El Sol de Tijuana.

A woman named Lizbeth said she got stopped going into work and was denied access.

“I have body aches, headaches, fatigue — there’s a lot of us here who work at the same factory, there’s about 20 of us,” she said.

Lizbeth said she showed up at the clinic at 8 a.m. and still had not seen anyone five hours later, still standing in a long line.

Unidentified security guard oversees long line of people waiting to get tested for COVID-19, (Jose Luis Camarillo/El Sol de Tijuana)

“We can’t maintain social distancing, we’re more exposed than ever,” Lizbeth said.

The state’s Secretary of Health, Alonso Pérez Rico, said he sympathizes with people and said help is on its way.

“We have about 1,000 doses of the vaccine that should arrive in Baja California in two weeks, they’ll be applied as experimental, part of a study,” he said. “In this sense, we obviously won’t be able to cover the state’s four million residents until we get more of the vaccines.”

Pérez Rico stressed people should continue to use face masks and maintain social distancing as a way to avoid more COVID-19 cases.

Tijuana has seen 8,327 coronavirus cases with 1822 reported deaths.

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