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To tackle Covid-19, Consell de Formentera pushes Govern balear to do more to inform, monitor, detect and control

In a letter sent today, Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer explained to the premier and health minister of the Govern balear, Francina Armengol and Patrícia Gómez, respectively, that since the invocation of the state of alarm, members of local law enforcement, firefighters and Civil Protection corps have been implementing control measures to see to it that restrictions put in place to prevent the local spread of Covid-19 are respected.

In recent days the island government has supplied the forces with protective equipment that’s key to their safety, however, as Ferrer pointed out in her missive, the very nature of such individuals’ work puts them at risk. The president underscored the profound importance of emergency responders’ protection, since an infection among their ranks could trigger “a drastic reduction of services and a stunting of local emergency responders’ reactive capacity”.

Formentera’s president detailed to the Balearic officials the local government’s voluntary registry of more than 300 recent arrivals—individuals who are tracked, given updates, and encouraged to call 061 if they present symptoms. The Formentera Department of Social Welfare contacts older islanders living alone and pitches in with tasks that pose particular challenges, while members of Civil Protection are due to make their own rounds to give elderly islanders information updates and check in, Ferrer said.

She likewise pointed out that Formentera’s sole Mobile Covid-19 Unit [UVAC] is meant to be tasked exclusively with home calls for patients with symptoms who present possible Covid-19 cases, and that the unit should also be assessing which cases warrant hospitalisation and ensuring proper monitoring of family members in order to control possible sources of infection.

The president pointed out that “Formentera has just one hospital and, should cases surge suddenly, we run the risk of seeing services overloaded and those in need of urgent care —both Covid-19 patients and individuals with unrelated care needs— neglected”. “It’s important we understand that a portion of Formentera’s healthcare workers come from Eivissa, and the infection risks inherent to travel mean that, whether workers are local or taking the ferry from Eivissa, keeping them safe is paramount to our hospital’s ability to continue functioning without becoming an infection source”.

Ferrer highlighted the following requests in her letter:

1. Closer monitoring of minor cases
Better and stricter control measures can be developed for essential staff whilst maintaining current protocol in which individuals presenting minor cases carry out confinement and self-isolation and are monitored via telephone, and hospital care is reserved for serious cases. Improvements can also be made to the way we monitoring of minor cases, strengthening our footing as we confront the situation today and enabling proper care for affected individuals.

2. Testing for the island’s emergency responders
A mechanism can be created without change to current protocol so that, similar to healthcare workers, emergency corps members with possible contagion exposure can be tested quickly and easily and continue performing their work safely.

3. More powerful Mobile Covid-19 Unit
The Formentera UVAC, created to treat homebound patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 or present symptoms consistent with it, should expand patient support so proper review of virus development can be ensured, increasing ease of mind for homebound individuals with symptoms and their families and preventing further spread.

4. Closer monitoring of recent arrivals
Individuals having arrived on the island from other locations should be subject to closer monitoring to make sure they respect measures in place and self-isolate as required.

5. More information from 061 emergency response and UVAC
Between the Consell de Formentera and local 061 emergency responders, more robust collaboration is needed around calls concerning possible Covid-19 cases. Key for the UVAC, meanwhile, is a closer monitoring of each case, particularly individuals who have tested positive, to keep the Consell informed while still respecting the confidentiality of sensitive information.

“We are asking for these measures because early detection, both in individuals close to confirmed positives and in suspected infections, can stem further spread of the virus and will help avoid overloading and endangering hospital services”, she said, offering a willing hand for “whatever the Govern balear might need as we tackle Covid-19.”


30 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera essential services

In line with Royal Decree 10/2020 (29 March 2020), the Consell de Formentera establishes the following minimum services from today 30 March to 9 April:
-Help at Home (Servei Atenció Domiciliària, SAD) and support for minors and victims of gender violence.
-Fire department and local police.
-Mortuary and cemetery services with vigil and funeral ceremonies in accordance with Order SND/298/2020 to limit propagation and spread of Covid-19.
-Maintenance and cleaning brigade: minimum operational maintenance of municipal facilities and cleaning of those areas necessary for essential services.
-Abbatoir (Escorxador).
-Pound (Canera).

The decree also lays the groundwork for establishment of minimum required action to maintain service crews and infrastructure, including defining minimum personnel or shifts similar to holiday or weekend protocol.

The current decree was itself preceded by exceptional measures and work at home schemes. Under the new order, individuals unable to work from home must register for a permit for recoverable mandatory retribution (permís retribuït obligatori recuperable), and have until 31 December 2020 to reimburse or compensate pay from interrupted work. Details to follow will be agreed with the administration.

Leave is to continue unchanged for workers already at home on leave or active vigil as a result of Covid-19.

As the Consell de Formentera is not considered an essential service, urgent registry transactions will be performed by email, and telephone support will continue. The online portal of the Citizen Information Office, the Ovac, will remain active.

30 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Alejandra Ferrer sends wishes for fast recovery of two islanders who tested positive for coronavirus, asks entire island for unity, cooperation

Speaking on behalf of the local cabinet, Consell de Formentera chief Alejandra Ferrer directed a message at the entire island in the wake of the two first confirmed cases of coronavirus on Formentera, but not before expressing her hope that the pair would manage a speedy recovery.

“We’re sending all our encouragement to these first two Formentera inhabitants to be affected by Covid-19, as well as to their families and friends”, she said, directing a special appeal for strength at the individual in intensive care with uncertain prognosis at Can Misses hospital. Ferrer hoped for a “speedy recovery” of the second individual, now in isolation at home with comparatively minor symptoms and being monitored by the Mobile Coronavirus Unit (UVAC).

The regional health office has confirmed that “in line with protocol, health authorities have contacted those living with the patients to make sure control measures like full isolation are being followed to avoid new transmissions”.

“Our best wishes go out to everyone affected, particularly those in serious condition, whether they’re here in the Balearics, in Spain or worldwide. These are very trying times for a great portion of the global population. To those affected and their loved ones, you have our strength.”

“The current health crisis is global”, Ferrer pointed out, adding islanders have already been operating under the assumption that cases could appear here, “and now, that’s unfortunately where we’re at. The whole island has been preparing for this and followed confinement measures dutifully in the previous weeks, but now we’re asking you to be even more vigilant so we can be sure we’re limiting the local spread as much as humanly possible.”

Ferrer asserted, “We need to be meticulous about our compliance with the safety measures that have come with the state of alarm. Following on yesterday’s ratcheting up of protocol, today we have an absolute freeze on all activity the central government hasn’t deemed essential. More islanders will be staying home from work tomorrow and helping do their part to get through this crisis by avoid contact and trips outside”.

The president applauded doctors, health workers and the staff of the Formentera Hospital and Can Misses for their efforts, and proclaimed, “Now more than ever, we need to remain calm and trust that the measures adopted by authorities will be effective and that we’ll get through this thing fast and limiting the human toll as much we can”.

29 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera fire brigade to salute local children and youth

foto 2020 bombers aplaudimentBarring any unforeseen events, Formentera’s firefighters have indicated that between this evening and tomorrow evening they will pay special tribute to island youngsters holed up at home. The gesture is part of the brigade’s decision to join a movement started on social media and messaging platforms to organise rounds of applause for all the children who for the last two weeks have been unable to leave their houses.

Members of the emergency response unit will crisscross the towns of the island in two of the brigade’s fire engines, sending a message of encouragement set to a medley of songs for youth. As the crew wraps up its run, they’ll switch on Aires Formenterencs’ Visc a Formentera [I live on Formentera] — a message of strength and encouragement for the whole island.

The fire brigade will trace the following route:

Saturday, from 6.00pm, La Savina – Sant Francesc & Ses Bardetes

Sunday, from 6.00pm, Es Pujols, Sant Ferran, Es Caló and La Mola.


28 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Thank you card from the president of the Consell de Formentera to children and youth of the island

foto 2020 carta als jovesDear friends,

You’ve been stuck at home for two weeks now. We know this isn’t easy, so as president of the Consell de Formentera and on behalf of the entire local governing team, I’m writing this message especially for the children and youth of Formentera.

The weekend of 14-15 March was a different one. You left classes on Friday knowing you wouldn’t be back for weeks. You’d been hearing about coronavirus for a few days already; your parents and teachers had likely already talked to you about the new illness, Covid-19, and the need to take steps to avoid its spread.

And then suddenly, you’re faced with measures that are extremely difficult and, at first blush, difficult to understand. And it wasn’t just schools that were closing; the cinema and Casal de Joves shut their doors too, extracurricular activities were cancelled and you were stuck at home.

The strangeness began that first weekend. Your parents told you that you couldn’t go outside. Not even to see your grandparents, get groceries, go to the beach, hang out with friends or sweethearts; not even to do exercise or play in the town square or at the park.

And it’s stayed that way since then, day in and day out, as if you were grounded. No, you’re not grounded, no. By staying inside we’re battling a virus that’s forced drastic decisions worldwide; you’re experiencing the first-hand effects right now.

Every day you’re making a huge effort by doing schoolwork from home. And I know you miss your classmates, your teachers, your friends and your routines. Your normal classes have become online classes, your parents have to help you with home- and classwork and, worse still, many of them —those that aren’t stuck working from home like you— have to keep going in to work. Keep in mind that all of this is new and difficult for adults, too.

You, the children and youth of Formentera, are showing us how it’s done. In each and every home you serve as lessons in patience and effort. I’m sure you’ll find a way to make the most of the extra time with your families. And, for Formentera’s youngest, I hope that new tools in digital communication are helping you keep in touch with the friends who are so important to you.

But effort, strength and smarts aside, it’s totally normal to have moments where you feel like giving up. If you do, I want you to know I’m here by your side to help you get back up. And if you’re worried about something, you can tell me about it in an email, at presidencia@conselldeformentera.cat.

And remember, above all, that when we come out on the other side of this thing that has turned our little world upside down, we’ll be stronger. Don’t doubt it for a second.

Alejandra Ferrer Kirschbaum
President, Consell de Formentera
27 March 2020

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