Facilities to cope with coronavirus patients were under extension at hospitals around the island on Saturday, with workers and staff at Nicosia general hospital seen carrying building equipment on site as the construction of a new wing is underway.
The new wing, which will be located next to the entrance of the accident and emergency department and consist of an extension to the ICU, will house coronavirus patients should the need arise, Health Services Organisation (Okypy) spokesman Charlambos Charilaou told the Cyprus Mail on Saturday. It is expected to be completed within the next 30 days.
Meanwhile, at Paphos general hospital two new temporary wings have opened, specifically a nursing station and a screening clinic for patients that present Covid-19 symptoms but who haven’t been tested yet.
Interim administrator of the hospital Dr Iosif Moutiris said the latter ward will host people with suspicious fevers, dry coughs and respiratory problems. He also made it clear that it will not be a walk-in wing and that patients will only be admitted by ambulance.
“We decided to open the new wards to be better prepared for when we receive new patients in the next days,” Moutiris said.
“It was not an easy task given the current situation with the pandemic and the fact that many health workers at the hospital have been infected.
“However, remarkable efforts were made and in just ten days we managed to open two new wards, which will undoubtedly help us in the fight against the virus”.
Another temporary screening clinic went operational on Saturday at Limassol general hospital, (Okypy) said.
According to a statement released by the organisation, the clinic will operate in the area of the hospital previously occupied by the psychiatric ward.
Like the one in Paphos, it will be reserved for patients that present coronavirus symptoms but who haven’t been tested. The ward will be completely separated from the rest of the hospital in order to reduce the risk of new infections.
So far, public health clinics across the island examined 3,241 people with suspicious symptoms between March 19 and April 2, the health ministry said on Saturday.
These patients were referred to the clinics by their GPs, who had evaluated their condition and symptoms via telephone.
Examination at the clinics takes place by appointment. If a doctor at the clinic deems necessary, a sample will be taken to be tested for coronavirus.
Patients with mild symptoms are asked to isolate themselves pending the test result while more serious cases are referred to temporary stay clinics.
Temporary stay clinics, like the ones opened on Saturday in Limassol and in Paphos, will take on cases who need further tests like x-rays, as well as A&E referrals deemed suspicious before they enter the department.
The ministry reiterated that people with suspicious symptoms must first contact their GP who will refer them for examination if necessary.
An electronic platform launched on Friday at the Nicosia and Famagusta hospitals to keep better track of how many cases of coronavirus were registered and admitted will be expanded through the week to include all hospitals under the supervision of the director of the National Electronic Health Authority Christos Schiza, the ministry said on Saturday.
The platform will act as a shareable data centre for hospitals with information collected from the existing Okypy database and from the 1420 hotline, implemented specifically for the public to report coronavirus-related symptoms.
Meanwhile, a second batch of medical supplies from China was due to arrive in Cyprus on Saturday night on an Aegean Air aircraft.
The plane carrying protective suits and masks donated by the Chinese government, companies and sister cities was expected to land at 10.30pm.