Private clinics recruited in Covid battle

Private clinics recruited in Covid battle

As coronavirus cases continue to rise, the Health Ministry plans to utilize the infrastructure of private clinics in Attica to relieve the rapidly growing pressure on National Health System (ESY) facilities.

The average number of Covid-19 cases admitted to hospitals is now 350 per day and has doubled in the last 10 days, while the number of intubated ICU patients is constantly rising. Scrambling to ensure that the “final fortress” of Attica will not fall to the pandemic, where ESY still endures, authorities will direct non-Covid cases to private clinics in the next few days so as to provide public hospitals with greater leeway to treat coronavirus patients.

Kathimerini understands that the Health Ministry has already reached an agreement with private clinics in Attica, which will probably start accepting patients next week. In the same context, yesterday Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis did not rule out the possibility of recruiting private doctors.

Health authorities on Friday announced 3,038 new cases and 38 deaths, raising total fatalities to 997 since the beginning of the pandemic, while 336 patients were intubated. A total of 697 new cases were detected in Attica and 725 in Thessaloniki. Three-digit figures were also recorded yesterday in Larissa (197), Pella (148) and Magnesia (103). 

A total of 2,841 Covid patients were being treated by ESY on Friday.

Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said, “The best bet for everyone is the restriction of movement,” and called on the public to show patience, perseverance and vigor. 

According to Vana Papaevangelou, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Athens University and a member of the Committee of Experts, “it seems that we are probably at the peak of this second wave,” while she also noted that, in Thessaloniki especially, a relative decrease in the growth rate of cases has been observed.

She clarified, however, that due to the large dispersion, hospitalizations and intubated patients will remain at high levels. 

“Within the next seven to 10 days, a reduction in imports is expected and one to two weeks later a reduction in intubation is expected,” she said.

The Health Ministry said yesterday morning that out of the 161 Covid ICUs serving Thessaloniki, only 11 (7%) were vacant, and the possibility of flying patients to Athens is drawing closer. Attica hospitals have 206 Covid ICUs, in which 140 patients were being treated yesterday (66 were empty).