Respiratory infections spike squeezes health system

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State hospital wards are full of older people with respiratory infections, while emergency rooms are overwhelmed with patients, said the health service.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, the state health services OKYPY’s spokesperson Charalampos Charilaou said the elderly admitted to hospital with severe respiratory issues have steadily risen for some weeks, with the majority of patients suffering from COVID19.

“There is also an increase in the number of elderly who come in with severe coronavirus symptoms and need to be kept for further treatment for post-COVID complications.

“This puts pressure on other wards, as these patients are transferred from COVID-assigned wards,” said Charilaou.

He said there is an ever-growing flow of people from nursing homes and elderly living at home with family.

Charilaou said that people visiting emergency departments were inflated over the Christmas holidays as GPs were hard to get a hold of.

GPs were urged to respond to their patient’s calls to alleviate pressure on the health system.

“Many patients coming into A&E could have been dealt with by GPs with simple instructions and medications,” said Charilaou.

The public can seek emergency medical care at hospital outpatient clinics available on weekends and holidays.

“If we have symptoms of a virus infection, like the flu, we should first seek help from the outpatient clinics, who will advise in case someone needs hospitalisation or should visit the A&E.”

Regarding COVID patients currently in state hospitals, Charilaou said the number had been steadily over 70 this month.

“Recently, we have seen a significant increase in patients needing intensive care.

“As of Sunday, 13 people were in a more serious condition, five of which were intubated; the majority are elderly”.