San Juan Mayor-elect Miguel Romero informed that his municipal government will identify a location in southern San Juan for the population in that area to have easier access to COVID-19 testing.
Romero announced this next step after meeting with the incoming Transition Committee, which affirmed that coronavirus mitigation efforts are at critical levels. The pro-statehood official added that his team will aim to increase contact tracing efforts by joining the state government, and they would also study alternatives to urge citizen cooperation.
"Broadening monitoring in San Juan is necessary because it impacts people's health and lives. We will take the necessary measures to boost what the Municipality has been doing and, as long as it is possible, make it available to other areas; we propose joining efforts initially with the Sate's tracing system," he said.
Romero underscored that there is a need to aid people who are under lockdown and don't have the means to perform their day-to-day tasks, such as shopping for groceries, medicine, among others.
"The important thing is that what is being done correctly and effectively continues, if there are other areas that need reinforcement, improve them and if there are aspects that we can innovate, we will do so. I was pleased that they coincided with the pre-announcement we made about the celebration of the San Sebastián Street Festivities and we will continue to look for alternatives to merchants and artisans," he stated.
For his part, the president of Romero's Transition Committee, CPA Manuel Díaz Saldaña, affirmed that the meeting was "highly productive."
"The topics to know how the pandemic has been managed, the projects they have developed, the requests and amount of funds they have received from the central government and the plans to continue working with the virus, including the vaccine distribution plan. We understand that in the area of education there is room to improve and make the residents of San Juan see the importance of precautionary measures to avoid contagion. It is also essential that there is a continuation of services, so I welcome the fact that health-related contractors have extended the contract to June 30, 2021," he said.
As of press time, the Puerto Rico Department of Health has reported 50,988 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island, accumulated since mid-March. Despite several officials and media declaring that Puerto Rico passed the 1,000-death mark, only 881 deaths have been confirmed as being directly caused by the virus. These numbers can be consulted here.
Natal Leading San Juan City Hall Race
Although Romero was declared the mayor-elect in the first counting process and he has already begun the transition work with his committee, the ballot scrutiny currently has his contender from the Citizen Victory Movement (MVC by its Spanish initials), Manuel Natal, at the lead.
Per the most recent update -on Nov. 30-, Natal is leading with 12,382 votes (36.93 percent), while Romero is trailing with 11,893 votes (35.74 percent). So far, only 27.41 percent of the electoral colleges have been reported, nearly one month after the Nov. 3 general elections.
Due to what he has deemed as "irregularities," Natal did not initially recognize Romero as the next mayor of Puerto Rico's capital when the latter was thought to be the victor in the race for San Juan City Hall. With nearly three-quarters of the ballots yet to complete the scrutiny process, the future of San Juan's leadership remains uncertain.
To view the CEE's ballot scrutiny website with the most updated results, click here.