How to stop Covid overload in hospitals

Experts and hospitals share their view of what Slovakia needs to do to relieve the critical situation.

The COVID-19 ward in the University Hospital Martin The COVID-19 ward in the University Hospital Martin (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

Slovakia's hospitals have been collapsing under the strain of Covid-19 patients for several weeks. Doctors say they are forced to choose whom of their coronavirus patients they will hook to artificial ventilation.

Chief pathologist Michal Palkovič told the Sme daily in October that if the hospitalisation trend continues, people will start dying at home sooner or later.

Hospitals are releasing patients still suffering from fever to the care of outpatient doctors. A fever of over 38 degrees Celsius is one of the main symptoms of a severe infection.

The main problem is that for weeks, the numbers of Covid patients in hospitals have been on the rise, and the trend is unrelenting.

"The past two weeks we have had a new record every day," says the Bratislava University Hospital spokesperson, Eva Kliská, about the number of patients they are treating. It is the biggest hospital in Slovakia.

On Monday, February 22, the number of Covid patients in hospitals reached a new record of 3,723 people. Alongside patients suspected of having Covid infection, the number makes 3,963.

Related articleSlovakia tests a million people each week yet fails to contain coronavirus spread Read more 

Yet the breaking point was considered to be 2,500 patients, a number that Slovakia reached on December 28 for the first time. The number of patients has been steadily rising since November 27.

"From our perspective, the situation is critical in eastern and western Slovakia," said Tomáš Kráľ, the spokesperson of the Svet Zdravia hospital network operating under the Penta financial group.

Svet Zdravia is the largest private hospital network, operating 17 hospitals around Slovakia. In the past week, their western- and eastern-Slovak hospitals have seen "sort of a revival of the increase in patients," Kráľ said.

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) convened a roundtable of experts on the Covid pandemic on Tuesday. The talks continued on Wednesday.

The Sme daily asked several of these experts and the largest hospitals: what to do to stop the increase in Covid patients in hospitals?

These are the 10 pieces of advice resulting from the survey:

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