Health system falling back on last reserves

Health system falling back on last reserves

Another extremely difficult week kicked in for the National Health System (ESY) on Monday as intensive care units in Attica approached 100% capacity and hospital admissions remained at a high level.

With Attica’s 360 Covid ICU beds full, the government on Monday announced further cooperation with the private health sector to prevent ESY from buckling under pressure. This cooperation includes the activation of the next stage of operational planning, with the integration of another private hospital in the network of hospitals treating patients with Covid-19 and the provision of 100 extra beds with ventilators in resuscitation units and operating rooms by the end of the week.

At the same time, representatives of hospital doctors (EINAP, OENGE) protested intensely against the decision by the Health Ministry to transfer specialized doctors from the Laiko, Ippokrateio and Spiliopouleio hospitals to the private Leto so they can offer treatment to Covid patients that were moved there from public hospitals.

The unions are demanding the immediate revocation of the decision along with the “proper requisition of private clinics.”

A total of 1,134 new cases of Covid-19 were announced on Monday with a total of just 11,700 tests performed. The death toll over the same period was 46.

Of the new cases, 521 were detected in Attica, 132 in Thessaloniki and 65 in Achaia. A total of 564 patients were being treated by intubation Monday at noon, while new hospitalizations of patients with the coronavirus were 461. The number of patients being treated for Covid-19 exceeded 4,000.

Experts are currently hesitant to make estimates when the third wave of the pandemic will subside, and when the pressure will ease on ESY. A more informed estimate is expected on Wednesday and Thursday.

In the meantime, schools are not seen opening before March 29. Until that time health protocols will be drafted that will foresee an increase in laboratory tests on teachers and students.

As stated by Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias, the updating of the protocols is considered necessary due to the increase in transmissibility, the circulation of new mutations, and the increase of epidemic outbreaks in schools beyond what was expected.

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