Health authorities are sounding the alarm over the growing possibility that a third wave of the coronavirus is at the gates, with the focus on Attica, the most densely populated area of the country.
With the prefecture experiencing a recent increase in daily recorded cases and hospitalizations, health authorities are looking at ways to stem the tide before the National Health System (ESY) begins to buckle.
According to Health Ministry officials, Attica was last week registering 50 to 80 new hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients daily (almost 50% of those registered in the country), while about 550 single Covid beds were occupied at the end of last week, compared to 455 the week before.
Half of the nationwide cases reported by the National Public Health Organization (EODY) have been consistently detected in Attica for the last 10 days. Tellingly, 543 new SARS-CoV-2 infections were announced on Monday, of which 265 concerned Attica. Thirty-nine cases were detected in Thessaloniki and 43 in Achaia. Also on Monday 33 deaths of patients with Covid-19 were reported (total 5,829) while 248 patients were intubated.
In light of the situation, the Health Ministry has already put Attica health units on high alert. The possibility of a third wave and how ESY is to deal with it were discussed on Monday in a teleconference convened by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, his deputy Vassilis Kontozamanis, Health Ministry Secretary-General for Primary Healthcare Marios Themistokleous, General Secretary of Health Services Ioannis Kotsiopoulos and the president of Greece’s ambulance service (EKAV), Nikos Papaefstathiou.
The ministry’s new operational plan, which was presented at the meeting, outlined the necessary interventions to increase the capacity of hospitals for the treatment of Covid cases in case this is necessitated by the pandemic’s course.
The plan is modeled on the one followed in Thessaloniki, where during the second wave, intensive care beds in ESY hospitals quadrupled, while reserves from the private sector were also utilized.
Meanwhile on Monday, 21,841 vaccinations were conducted, bringing the total jabs administered to 290,947 doses. An additional 90,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines were received Monday.
A total of more than 1,650,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be received by the end of March. Some 410,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive by the end of February and another 540,000 doses by the end of March.