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Coronavirus: Despite tough hours ICU workers keeping patients’ spirit up (pics, video)

Health workers in intensive care units (ICU) all over Cyprus are fighting against the coronavirus pandemic on a daily basis, some of them under very difficult conditions, both mental and physical, the chief nurse at Nicosia general hospital said on Saturday.

In these difficult times, their sole focus is the wellbeing of their patients, who, understandably, are afraid for their own health as well as their families. “People are most afraid of the possibility of passing the virus onto their loved ones,” head of nurses at the hospital Costas Koulas said.

“Most of the patients we are treating have children and family members belonging to vulnerable groups and their biggest fear is infecting them

“It’s inevitable that they think like this. All they see on television or read in newspapers and on website is that the virus does not spare anyone, regardless of their age. They are scared.”

However, Koulas said the staff at the ICU at Nicosia hospital are doing their best to cheer them up.

“Sometimes it’s tough but we have to be in a good mood for them in order to help them forget about their fears.”

He also said the long hours staff work at the hospital are starting to take a toll.

“Some of us stopped counting the hours we work. We are always doing double shifts so we can manage the number of patients we receive, so obviously we are all exhausted.”

On March 29, the ministry of health arranged for a healthcare workers to stay in hotel rooms close to hospitals if they did not want to go back home after work to prevent family members being exposed to a potential infection.

“Most of the people working in the ICU are staying in hotels away from their homes and they have been doing so for weeks,” Koulas said.

“It’s tough but we have seen how the number of cases per day has drastically decreased, so it’s for the best.”

He urged citizens to keep listening to the experts’ advice and avoid going out as much as possible in order to stop the contagion completely.

The scientific director of state health services (Okypy) Dr Marios Loizou said there is room for optimism, despite the fact that danger is still lurking.

“Until an effective vaccine is found, we will always be at risk so it’s imperative to adhere to the measures set by the health ministry,” he said.

“ICUs still need to be properly staffed, with enough doctors and nurses to cope with the situation.

“I can confirm we are in a good place and we are training new people to ease the work of the current staff.

“Fortunately, we did not have to use all the beds in the ICUs in Cyprus, that would have been a difficult scenario to face, as was the case in many countries around the world,” Loizou said.

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