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COVID19: Sharp increase in hospital admissions

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As daily coronavirus cases remain stubbornly in triple-digit figures, health authorities are growing increasingly concerned over the rising number of COVID-19 patients needing hospital care.

Cyprus’ health system is under pressure as there are 40 COVID-19 patients who have been admitted to a state hospital due to the severity of their illness.

Of the 40 patients, 28 are being treated at COVID referral hospital Famagusta General, five of which are in the Acute Care Unit.

Four patients are being treated on a ventilator at Nicosia General’s Intensive Care Unit while another 8 are in a separate ward set up for patients with COVID-19.

Commenting on the number of patients at Famagusta General, its chief scientist Amalia Hadjiyianni said Thursday the hospital had seen one of its roughest nights since the outbreak in March.

“During the afternoon and evening, due to reduced staff, the situation at the hospital was particularly difficult and heartbreaking.

The night shift was very difficult since we had the arrival of complicated cases from other hospitals.

Also, today at dawn, it was deemed necessary for a patient, due to the seriousness of his condition, to be transported to the Nicosia General Hospital where he was put on a ventilator.”

Hadjiyianni repeated the hospital’s plea for extra staff.

“We have been waiting for days for doctors, nurses, ward assistants and even cleaners. At the moment we have a ward assistant who works 12 hours a day.”

According to reports, the Health Ministry has approved the hospital’s request for more doctors, nurses, and auxiliary staff.

At the peak of the first wave, those treated in hospital for COVID-19 at any one time reached 56, but Cyprus is now witnessing a much higher number of infections.

Cyprus reported another 113 cases on Wednesday down from 181 on Tuesday.

Over the past 10 days authorities have reported 964 cases. Only Monday saw cases drop below a triple digit figure, as authorities reported 91 cases out of an unusually low 2,285 tests.

Scientists are alarmed over the drastic turn Cyprus’ epidemiological performance has taken in recent days.

On Tuesday, Cyprus state health services organisation (OKYPY) asked the Health Ministry to establish a second reference hospital for COVID-19, an indication it fears an increase in admissions over the coming weeks.

The organisation’s spokesperson Charalambos Charilaou said the state body asked the ministry to establish a second reference hospital in case the one in Famagusta reaches full capacity and cannot receive any more patients for treatment.

Meanwhile, 1,500 population Kyperounta village in Troodos is sending out a distress signal after 20 people were found positive to the virus in recent days, with 5-6 local clusters already formed.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, head of the community, George Panayiotou asked health authorities to urgently step in to have the village tested.

Kyperounta residents have been instructed by authorities to restrict their movements to stem the spread of the virus within the community and to give time for experts to list close contacts of confirmed cases.

The Health Ministry announced Thursday it will conduct 500 random tests in the village.