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Profile of the Brazilian Municipalities

Almost all Brazilian city halls adopted social isolation measures in 2020

Section: Social Statistics | Cristiane Crelier | Design: Brisa Gil

November 10, 2021 10h00 AM | Last Updated: November 11, 2021 04h02 PM

  • Highlights

  • In a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, only 1.4% of the 5,467 municipalities taking part in the Munic did not adopt any social isolation measures in 2020 and only 0.1% did not take any action to fight it.
  • Mandatory masks were adopted by 94.5% of these municipalities.
  • And 99.7% had confirmed cases of Covid-19 in 2020.
  • Sanitary barriers were implemented in 76.0% of the municipalities answering the survey.
  • Only 18 municipalities reported having no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in 2020, all with less than 10,000 inhabitants.
  • In 93.8% of the municipalities with cases, there was need for hospitalization, and in 88.8% there were deaths.
  • The number of hospital admissions exceeded the capacity of beds and public or private Intensive Care Units (ICU) associated with the SUS in 23.6% of the cities surveyed.
  • In 91.6% of these municipalities, there was a need to send patients to other municipalities.
  • Among the cities with hospitalization, the largest proportion of municipalities with the occurrence of deaths was in the North Region (96.7%) and the smallest, in the South (80.5%).
Municipalities with confirmed cases of Covid-19 reached 99.7% (5.449) of the 5.467 answering the survey - Photo: Raquel Portuga/Fiocruz

Social isolation measures against Covid-19 were adopted by 98.6% of a set of 5,467 Brazilian municipalities, and 99.7% of them registered confirmed cases of the disease during the year. But 74 municipalities reported that they had not taken action in this regard. The data are from the Survey of Basic Municipal Information (Munic 2020), released today (November 10) by the IBGE.

“One of the objectives of this edition of Munic was to provide information about which municipalities were affected by the pandemic and what actions were taken by local administrations to minimize the impacts on the population”, reports Ms. Vânia Pacheco, manager of Social Studies and Surveys.

Among the 5,570 Brazilian city halls, 103 did not answer this pat of the survey. Munic data takes into account only those answering to the IBGE questionnaire on each topic (5,467 in the case of Covid).

Of the municipalities that reported having adopted some measure of social isolation, 81.4% issued decrees and 18.6% carried out only advertising campaigns targeting the population. The mandatory use of masks was adopted by 94.5% of the municipalities and more than 78% of them carried out actions to disinfect neighborhoods and public places, in addition to testing the population for Covid-19. Only 0.1% (3) of the municipalities reported not having carried out any of these actions.

The month in which the first social isolation decree was issued was March, and this measure decreased significantly in subsequent months, reaching only four municipalities in December.

“In addition to the social isolation measures, another action to fight the pandemic that was very observed (76.0% of the municipalities) was the implementation of sanitary barriers on access roads, which served as mechanisms to control the virus. Among the actions taken at the barriers were: not allowing the entry of people who did not prove residency or work in an essential area and the distribution of leaflets on preventive care against the coronavirus, in addition to measuring body temperature”, emphasizes Ms. Pacheco.

And 99.1% of the city halls had carried out at least one of the actions investigated for the population in social vulnerability. The most cited were the distribution of masks (72.6%) and staple food baskets or food credit (66.3%), as well as the feasibility of keeping social assistance centers, such as CRAS and CREAS, operational (64.0%) . The creation of shelters for the homeless population (9.8%) and the registration of people to receive emergency aid paid by the municipality (10.7%) were the least common actions.

Lack of beds reached 23.6% of the municipalities that had cases of Covid-19

Only 18 municipalities reported having no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in 2020, all with less than 10,000 inhabitants. In 93.8% of the municipalities with cases, there was a need for hospitalization, and in 88.8% there were deaths.

In the municipalities where hospital admissions due to Covid were necessary, 23.6% reported that the number of admissions exceeded the capacity of available beds and public ICUs or private ones associated with SUS. In addition, 91.6% needed to transfer patients to other cities.

“More than half (58.2%) of the municipalities increased the number of beds and 12.3% installed field hospitals. But there was still a great need to send patients to other municipalities. And in 39.1% of the cities, patients needed to be kept for more than 24 hours in outpatient health units. In municipalities with up to 50,000 inhabitants, the proportion of those who reported transfering patients was higher than those who got more beds; in larger ones, this proportion was inverted. Among those who reported the need to keep patients in outpatient units, the highest proportion was in municipalities with more than 100,000 and less than 500,000 inhabitants", says Mr. Pacheco.

Among the 5,109 municipalities where people with COVID-19 needed hospitalization, 88.8% (4,536) reported death. The largest proportion of municipalities that registered deaths was in the North Region (96.7%) and the smallest in the South (80.5%). With respect to population size class, the highest proportions were in municipalities with the largest population size class. Among those with up to 5,000 inhabitants, 68.2% registered deaths; in those with more than 5 thousand to 10 thousand inhabitants, 84.8%. Above 10 thousand inhabitants, deaths occurred in 94% of the municipalities and, in those above 500 thousand, 100%.

In the Federation Units, the states of Acre, Amazonas, Roraima, Pará, Amapá, Ceará and Alagoas stood out, where 100% of the municipalities with patients in need of hospitalization by Covid reported the occurrence of deaths. In Rio de Janeiro (98.9%) and Espírito Santo (98.7%), the percentage was also quite high. On the other hand, Rio Grande do Sul had the lowest proportion of municipalities with this occurrence (77.9%), followed by Minas Gerais and Santa Catarina (both with 81.7%).

In this edition, as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic, which impacted the IBGE's work routine, the collection of Munic information was carried out between September 2020 and March 2021, through the Internet, via the web system, and editable questionnaires sent by email to city halls.

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