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Emergency centers in Puerto Rico shut down due to COVID-19 infections among employees

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On Wednesday night, many employees in the 911 call centres tested positive for the coronavirus which ensued into the facility getting shut down in Puerto Rico.

Substitute numbers in emergency

Pedro Janer, the Public Safety Secretary said that people should ring the island’s emergency management agency in the event of an emergency whose numbers are 787-724-0124 or call the police at 787-343-2020. He assured that these numbers and the agencies will be functional 24 hours a day.

Although, people complained that the first number provided by Janer played a recording that asked them to contact 911 and after that, a directory was provided by the recording to the caller.

“This is serious,” Nazario Lugo, president of Puerto Rico’s Association of Emergency Managers, said to The Associated Press. He said that he was astonished at the government’s provisional plan to manage emergencies in the U.S. land housing about 3.2 million people.

Lugo also said that the officials should transmit the calls through to a different number, instead of making people call a longer number that they would have to search for or hear in the news.

“Response times will definitely be affected,” he said.

Kiara Hernández, an official for the Public Safety Department, stated that she could not instantly remark on the reason as to why the officials were incapable to direct emergency calls to an alternative number.

“It’s an option that’s being evaluated,” she said.

Furthermore, she said that she couldn’t understand why were the centres closed in the first place without keeping viable substitutes or alternatives open.

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Coronavirus in Puerto Rico

This is happening for the first time that Puerto Rico has closed its major and minor 911 call centres both. Janer informed that the establishments will be carefully scoured and that an announcement will be made regarding the resumption of the centres.

The exact number of the infected employees has not been reported. Puerto Rico has logged over 29,700 positive cases of the virus along with over 770 deaths caused by the virus.

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Vidhi Narula

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