Summer viruses, COVID burden hospitals

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State hospitals, especially those in coastal towns, are under pressure as they are coping with a steep increase in emergency cases of seasonal viruses and food poisoning while COVID is returning.

Cases of viral and food-related gastroenteritis, injuries at the beach, and upper respiratory problems, mainly due to the continuous use of air conditioners, fill hospital beds.

The Accident and Emergency Department at Famagusta General now tends to more than 100 emergency cases daily, when the average is 80.

The A&E department at the Larnaca General tends to average 140 cases, up from 90 a day, while the Limassol General sees an average of 120 cases, up from 100 daily.

Doctors at the Paphos General Hospital tend to more than 100 emergencies daily, up from an average of 80.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, Charalambos Charilaou, spokesperson for the state health services organisation (OKYPY), said: “An increase in emergencies is normal during summer months, but we have noticed that the nature of these cases has changed”.

Charilaou said there is an increase in cases of gastroenteritis caused by the consumption of food that was not stored correctly under the high temperatures prevailing on the island.

“We need to take extra caution while storing food, keeping it away from direct sunlight and in high temperatures”.

Meanwhile, as Charilaou added, coronavirus cases have rapidly increased recently, adding more strain to hospitals.

He said cases of patients being treated in hospitals for COVID have doubled, compared to previous months, reaching 32.

One is being treated in an intensive care unit, while another two are in an Acute Care Unit.

Until ten days ago, the average number of COVID patients in the past months was 15.

“The majority of patients with coronavirus are elderly people.

“During the summer holidays, people are constantly moving, people have more contacts, while everyone has let their guard down.

“This is something happening worldwide, not just in Cyprus,” said Charilaou.

Asked about cases of heatstroke, Charilaou said that just one patient was in an Intensive Care Unit, an older person admitted last week.