Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: hospitals facing uphill battle to return to normal

Nicosia general hospital

State health services organisation Okypy on Friday announced special arrangements for state hospitals in a bid to better manage staff shortages and be able to handle serious coronavirus cases.

State hospital operator Okypy announced that as of Friday, the accident and emergency Departments (A&E) in the Limassol and Paphos general hospitals would suspend operations for 72 hours, while in Nicosia and Larnaca they will be open only for emergency cases.

It also said that the operation of outpatient services at the Paphos and Limassol hospitals was also suspended with the exception of haematological and oncological incidents, dialysis and thalassemia patients where special arrangements will be made.

Famagusta General Hospital continues to operate as a Reference Hospital while its A&E department and dialysis unit will be up and running.

Okypy said the new arrangements aim at better managing personnel but also ensuring its protection from coronavirus. Public hospitals will be called to manage possible serious coronavirus cases, it said, hence the special arrangements.

Visitors are not allowed in all public hospitals. Pharmacies in hospitals will service only patients with chronic illnesses.

Okypy announced that outpatient services are suspended at the Limassol and Paphos hospitals, as well as all scheduled operations. Patients are urged to contact the private hospitals with which the health ministry has made arrangements; Evangelismos and Blue Cross Medical Centre in Paphos and Mediterranean in Limassol, even though the former has been hit by the virus but says it will be ready to re-open on Saturday. The hospital’s accident and emergency department remains open.

The two hospitals’ A&E departments are also suspending operations for 72 hours and all incidents will be serviced by these private sector clinics.

Haematology and oncology patients, as well as dialysis and thalassemia cases are an exception and special arrangements will be made for their service, Okypy said.

Imaging and clinical laboratories will continue working abiding by the coronavirus protocols.

Blood banks will continue to offer their service in both the private and the public sector.

As regards the Nicosia general hospital, the A&E department will offer services only to emergency incidents. In general, only emergency patients will be treated if they cannot be treated in the private sector.

The cardiothoracic and vascular surgery clinic suspends its operations.

The Larnaca general hospital’s outpatient services are suspended, as well as all scheduled operations. The A&E department will offer services only to emergency cases.

Executive director for the Limassol and Paphos hospitals, Christos Nicolaou told the Cyprus News Agency on Friday that efforts were underway to fully restore operations at the Paphos hospital.

The hospital closed down after a total of 15 people, patients and staff, have so far tested positive. A 65-year-old patient at the hospital is believed to have transmitted the virus to another patient and staff and they spread it to others.

The hospital’s 680 employees continue to be tested for the coronavirus.

Nicolaou said they are waiting for the final number of staff infected so that they can decide what to do.

He said that disinfection of the hospital continues at a fast pace as well as other works that need to be done so that the hospital can resume operations.

The head of the Paphos general hospital haemodialysis department asked for more staff on Friday after almost half were affected by the coronavirus. Lakis Yiukas said out of the 18 nurses, one had been found positive to the virus while six were in self-isolation.

The department has been disinfected in line with protocols and the nurses who came in contact with the confirmed case were sent home.

Yiukas suggested however, that the other nurses should also be removed from the department as a precaution.

The doctor said it was necessary to find other nursing staff who know how to operate a haemodialysis machine.

He said the unit’s patients, around 100, will be randomly tested.



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