COVID19: Health emergency could become ‘unmanageable’

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A spike in coronavirus cases is putting the health system under asphyxiating pressure with the situation threatening to get out of hand as hospital admissions rise.

In a statement on Monday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the situation on the spread of the virus is at a critical point that “could become unmanageable”.

Ioannou said he has re-evaluated the situation with the State Health Services Organization (OKYPY) and requested the assistance of private doctors to cover increased needs, as the public health system is reaching capacity and human resources limit.

OKYPY is rolling out a plan to increase the number of beds available for COVID-19 patients.

“But, unfortunately, as long as the number of daily cases remains high, then inevitably the possibility to meet these needs will be exhausted,” said Ioannou.

“Allocating more beds for the treatment of COVID-19 cases limits the ability of public hospitals to adequately cater for patients with other serious health problems,” he added.

The Minister said that OKYPY has requested the assistance of private doctors, mainly Pulmonologists and Pathologists, who will be seconded to the public sector to plug ever-increasing needs.

“The high number of cases during the last few days will be translated into more hospital admissions in the immediate future, bringing us face-to-face with the worst-case scenario. The next few days are extremely critical.”

Ioannou argued that only by bringing cases down will the situation remain manageable.

He appealed to the public to be extra careful, to respect the personal hygiene measures, and reduce their contacts to curb the outbreak.

“The euphoria created from the vaccination program launched is understandable, but in no case should it lead to complacency.

“Safeguarding the population through vaccinations will only be possible after weeks and months, therefore, until then we will have to remain vigilant to prevent the worst.”

Earlier on Monday, the Health Ministry said that 25 COVID-19 patients were on a ventilator, the highest number since the pandemic began.

The number of people being treated at hospital Intensive and Acute Care Units is also at a high of 46.

On Sunday, 154 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals across the island, up from Saturday’s 149, with 57 patients considered to be critical.

December is the deadliest month since the outbreak in March, with 63 of the 112 COVID-19 deaths occurring.

Some 9,092 out of 19,657 confirmed COVID cases were recorded in December.