The professionals are once again calling for self-protective behaviour: The hospitals have already exceeded 70 percent of capacity!

Foto: epa

The deteriorating situation is very concerning to the government, as the number of infections is growing rapidly. A total of 356 infections were confirmed on Tuesday, and the share of positive tests is steadily increasing, currently, as many as 8.9 percent of performed tests are positive. Most of the cases are local, only two cases were imported from abroad. Hospital capacities are filling up, and on Tuesday, 122 people needed hospital care, due to the coronavirus. In just one day, 22 new patients were admitted to the COVID wards, and the same number of patients needed intensive care. The government expects that with such a high rise in infections, the need for hospital capacities and intensive care will also increase. The director of the University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases and a member of the expert group at the Ministry of Health, Aleš Rozman, called on everyone in the country to strictly adhere to protective measures and thus contribute to stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The proportions of the epidemic of the novel coronavirus are growing sharply, and even if the state implements stricter preventive measures today, the number of infections on this day will only be known in ten to 14 days, warned the director of the University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases and member of the expert group at the Ministry of Health, Aleš Rozman. What this means is that we can expect a much higher number of infected people in ten days. He urged the nursing homes to set up their own red zones, as the elderly may no longer be able to be admitted to the hospitals, as a precaution. He called on the inhabitants of the Republic of Slovenia: “There is no country where the epidemic would rage uncontrollably, and the economy, education, and healthcare would flourish at the same time. I am calling for self-protective behaviour. We are entering a dangerous zone, in terms of the stability of our healthcare system.”

Slovenian hospitals have already exceeded 70 percent of the capacities they have available for patients with COVID-19 without affecting other activities. According to the hospitals, they are trying to get extra beds, which will in turn lead to the suspension of other medical programs in hospitals, and longer waiting times for other patients, Rozman told the press at the government news conference. The problem is not a lack of beds and respirators, but the lack of medical staff. “It is difficult to predict where an infected patient will appear, who will only develop the symptoms after he has been in the ward for a few days and will have already spread the virus to the staff and other patients,” Rozman explained. He pointed out that some hospitals are already facing infections among their employees.

The Ministry of Health is already working on bringing in the available beds, allocating staff, and moving the patients
A few days ago, Rozman estimated that the health care system needs the coordination of the Ministry of Health, to bring in the available beds and place the patients with COVID-19 in the appropriate facilities. “We want the Ministry of Health to tell the directors of the hospitals how many beds they need to prepare, and in which hospitals the activities that cannot wait will take place. We need a dispatch service for COVID-19, to take the patients to the nearest hospital. Currently, this happens after a long time of coordinating over the telephone, in different parts of Slovenia,” he concluded. Coordination was also discussed with the Minister of Health, Tomaž Gantar, said Rozman and pointed out that the application for entering the number of available vacant beds is already working, and the dispatch service is also being organized.

Regarding the information that a central hospital for patients with COVID-19 could be established in the Topolšica Hospital, Rozman reiterated that they are trying to continue to hospitalize every patient with COVID-19 in his or her nearest hospital. According to Rozman, even if Topolšica is established as the central hospital for COVID-19, it will not be the only hospital to treat these patients, as they do not have enough beds – there are between 90 and 100, and they are not intended only for the patients with COVID-19. Rozman also said that it has not yet been determined where the additional staff for the care of patients with COVID-19 could be brought from. He reminded everyone that a legal basis is being prepared so that it will be possible to redeploy employees between hospitals, but he also pointed out that not all healthcare workers will be willing to accept the transfer.

Sara Kovač