Health Min. issues appeal for more doctors as hospitals admit 1,000 Covid patients this week

Officials called the current development of the coronavirus pandemic in Greece “difficult” at a live briefing on Wednesday, with a steep rise in patients on ventilators and ambulance use to take ill people to hospitals, but insisted it was “manageable”.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias appealed to the private sector doctors to help out in the National Health System (ESY), which he said was stretched to the limits.

In total, Greece has 1,400 ICU beds dedicated to Covid, Kikilias said, with 650 beds in ICUs in Attica Region in total. Of these 650 ICU beds, 381 are dedicated to Covid patients. In terms of plain Covid-dedicated beds, Attica Region has 2,961, he said.

In terms of numbers, a total of 4,648 Covid patients are currently hospitalized, 1,000 of whom were admitted this week. “With 3,465 Covid-19 infections reported today, we can confirm we are at the toughest point of the pandemic’s development, and the ESY is on high emergency mode,” the minister said, but insisted that hospitalized coronavirus patients would find a bed in an ICu within 24 hours.

The spread of coronavirus was also evident in rural areas, as well, Kikilias said, and he appealed for more private sector doctors to help out. So far 45 specialists and general pathologists had signed up through the Athens Medical Association and the Attica Region director’s efforts. If no more came forward, he would resort to requisitions, he said.

Clinics offer beds & staff

In addition, the private sector had contributed beds in clinics: 550 in total, with 450 of them being non-Covid. All beds come with medical and nursing staff. The non-Covid beds were turned over by Hellenic Health Group (300 beds), Iaso SA Group (100) and Athens Medical Group (50). The remainder Covid-dedicated beds come from Athens Euroclinic Group (60) and Biomedical Group (40).

Asked to comment on how the spread of the virus could be otherwise contained, the Health minister said “there is globally no other method discovered except by reduced mobility” and he pointed out that the measures implemented already brought results in reducing the number of deaths.

Ambulance services spike

Head of the emergency ambulance service (EKAV-KEPY), Nikos Papaefstathiou, provided additional numbers at the briefing to show that in a single year, ambulance transports in Greece totalled 61,000, in addition to 100 airlifts.

In the last 17 days, he said, ambulance transports reached 7,500, with 3,700 of these in the Attica Region. There are over 200 transports by ambulance on a daily basis in Attica, he pointed out.