State health services organisation Okypy is taking measures to ensure the operation of public hospitals and protect staff from exposure to the coronavirus in this challenging situation, spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said on Tuesday.
With health professionals testing positive to Covid-19 and many under self-isolation staff are under immense pressure to keep state hospitals running.
“The heaviest burden of dealing with coronavirus falls on the shoulders of state hospitals,” Charilaou told the Cyprus Mail.
He added that it is natural that the staff are exposed to an increased risk since they treat or come in contact with coronavirus patients but Okypy is taking measures to protect them while also ensuring the operation of state hospitals.
He said this includes the suspension of surgeries and appointments with specialists, a ban on visits to patients but also the disinfection of state hospitals.
Charilaou also said that they have introduced a rotation shift schedule so that state hospitals operate on the minimum number of staff possible.
This, he said is aimed at protecting the staff but also maximising the use of human resources.
Another important measure, he said, is they make sure that the same staff always work in the same group so if there is a confirmed case it will be easier to track down his or her contacts.
Charilaou also told the Cyprus News Agency that state hospitals are adequately stocked in consumables and they would also be given the materials sent by the Embassy of China.
Okypy’s reassurances follow statements by the head of the Paphos state hospital Dr Iosif Moutiris earlier in the day that more than half of the 270 nurses working at the hospital are now on self-isolation after coming in contact with confirmed cases.
Moutiris also told CNA that the same is true for doctors, after three of them tested positive for coronavirus and their colleagues who came in contact with them are now in self-isolation.
The biggest problem, Moutiris said, is in the general ward where all six doctors are in quarantine. He added that the three doctors working at the nephrology and pulmonary clinics are also in self-isolation. One of the nephrology doctors is expected to return on Wednesday, he said.
Okypy on Tuesday has also announced new measures for Nicosia and Larnaca general hospitals after an employee working at the cardiology unit in Nicosia and a patient in the pathology ward in Larnaca were infected with the coronavirus.
Both people have been isolated and no new patients will be admitted to the public hospitals.
Okypy said it was taking the measures to protect the health of staff and patients already hospitalised.
It said that all staff will be tested as well as those who came into contact with the confirmed cases and all patients in the wards.
Staff who have come into contact with the infected persons are isolated and have been given self-monitoring guidelines.
The areas are being disinfected as protocol dictates and an investigation will be carried out.
Testing of patients for coronavirus at Paphos general hospital hemodialysis unit has been completed, head of the nephrology department Lakis Yioukas said on Tuesday. Yioukas himself is in self-isolation after a nurse of the department tested positive for the virus.
He said so far, the results of the tests are negative and no new case has been detected.
According to the head of department four nurses have been transferred to the hospital from Nicosia to support the unit and afternoon shifts.
All nurses of the Paphos hemodialysis units were removed after the nurse working for the department caught the virus.
The hospital has been closed since the weekend and is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday.