Pressure on hospitals as COVID, flu cases rise

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State hospitals are facing increased pressure and nearing capacity due to a surge in respiratory virus cases, with the number of COVID patients admitted doubling in recent weeks, according to Charalampos Charilaou, spokesperson of the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY).

Speaking to Phileleftheros daily on Wednesday, Charilaou said, “currently, approximately 60 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, whereas in previous weeks, the number ranged between 25 and 30.”

The hospitalisation rate has doubled from recent weeks, and intensive care units (ICUs) are now receiving admissions after a significant period without such cases.

Charilaou explained that ICUs are experiencing a rise in COVID cases, with a total of six patients, three in Nicosia and three in Limassol.

OKYPY’s spokesperson said that the authority anticipates a further increase in numbers, citing a significant surge in COVID-19 admissions in the last twenty-four hours.

Simultaneously, seasonal infections are contributing to increased hospital occupancy rates, particularly in paediatric wards, where the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) has led to higher admissions.

Charilaou highlighted the sustained high occupancy in paediatric wards due to RSV affecting very young children.

First case of influenza

“The number of patients requiring hospitalisation for seasonal respiratory infections is also on the rise,” he said.

He noted that state hospitals have reported the first cases of influenza requiring hospitalisation, with an expected peak in flu activity in January and February.

Charilaou emphasised that the reported numbers pertain only to state hospitals, and it is likely that additional patients are hospitalised in private facilities.

He urged citizens to exercise caution, especially during gatherings in enclosed spaces, and to prioritise the protection of the elderly.

Charilaou pointed out that the majority of hospitalised patients are elderly, with many originating from nursing homes, particularly in Nicosia.