Part of Greece’s success to date in containing the spread of the new coronavirus includes a very small rate of cases at assisted living facilities for the elderly compared to high rates of cases and deaths at retirement homes in other European countries.
With the exception of a retirement home in Nea Makri, eastern Attica, which was quarantined in the middle of last month after 10 residents and two staff members tested positive for Covid-19, Greece has seen very few similar cases.
Mobile units of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) have carried out some 7,500 diagnostic tests on residents at 240 retirement homes around the country, with the results for half those tests pointing to just two cases of infection.
In comments to Kathimerini, EODY’s vice president Giorgos Panagiotakopoulos said the low level of infections was encouraging but warned against complacency, adding that tests make the elderly feel more secure.
The situation in similar facilities elsewhere in Europe is far less encouraging. According to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 51 percent of the 9,052 deaths attributed to Covid-19 in Belgium by May 19 had been recorded at assisted living facilities. France had reported 13,539 deaths at retirement homes by early last week, while Spain had reported 17,739 deaths at 5,400 such facilities, corresponding to 66% of total deaths from Covid-19.
In the United Kingdom, the number of deaths from the coronavirus at retirement homes is unclear, with two counts pointing to 7,000 and 8,500 respectively.
In Greece, the number of Covid-19 infections inched up to 2,853 yesterday, after just three new cases were confirmed, while two new fatalities took the death toll to 168. The new cases include an eight-month-old baby being treated in the intensive care unit of the capital’s Agia Sofia Children’s Hospital.