NEWS

Alert amid spike in patients in ICU

alert-amid-spike-in-patients-in-icu

Health authorities were on alert on Friday amid a spike in the number of patients with the coronavirus that are in intensive care, though an upward trend in infections appears to have stabilized, according to epidemiologists. 

On Friday the National Organization for Public Health announced 391 new cases of Covid-19 and one fatality, pushing the total number of infections to 21,772 and the death toll to 431. A record 98 patients are intubated in intensive care units. Of the new infections, 161 were in Attica. 

Meanwhile, authorities presented a new online health safety map assigning different levels of risk to different parts of the country – with areas colored green, yellow, orange or red according to the level of transmission of the virus in those areas and the potential for the spread to accelerate. The map, which can be seen at covid.gov.gr, is to be updated every 14 days based on the evolution of the pandemic. 

Apart from being color-coded – with green indicating the lowest risk and red the highest – each area has a list of restrictions that apply there. For instance in green-coded areas, such as Arcadia, Messinia and Ilia, where the risk level is lowest, a curfew on bars and restaurants applies from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., while in orange-coded areas, such as Achaia, Karditsa and Trikala, the curfew applies from midnight to 5 a.m. In red-coded areas – there are none yet – all such businesses would be obliged to close until further notice. 

Of the country’s 74 regions, 26 were yesterday at level 1 “readiness,” which is green on the map, with 25 at level 2 “monitoring,” or yellow on the map. A total of 23 regions were at level 3 “increased monitoring,” or orange on the map. 

Presenting the map on Friday, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias and Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said it had been designed to serve as a useful tool to both citizens and entrepreneurs. 

Although Attica is among the regions categorized as having a level 3 risk, with around half of the cases recorded daily in the greater Athens area, epidemiologists have cautiously pointed to an apparent “stabilization” in infections. “We can’t draw any safe conclusions yet,” Gikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Athens University, said. “We’ll wait another week and then we’ll see.” A greater concern is the rise in intubated patients, he said, noting that the health system is coming under increasing pressure.