A Covid-19 ward is to be created at Paphos state hospital and the ward at Larnaca general will be reactivated to deal with a growing number of coronavirus patients requiring admission, the health ministry announced on Friday.
The announcement came following reports that hospital admissions this month had risen by 100 per cent in relation to February.
Currently, Nicosia and Limassol Hospitals have Covid-19 wards, while Famagusta general is the referral hospital for coronavirus cases.
“We noticed an increase in admissions since the beginning of the month,” said Constantinos Constantinou, an infectious diseases specialist with the State Health Services Organisation (Okypy) said during a press conference presenting the national epidemiological report.
According to Okypy’s spokesman Charalambos Charilaou, the number of coronavirus patients in state hospitals has doubled in the last ten days. As of Thursday, there were 185 people in hospitals of whom 36 were in serious condition and16 were intubated.
“We are expecting a Covid ward to be operational at the Larnaca hospital within the day or tomorrow, followed by Paphos general hospital,” Constantinou added.
But the additional beds will be taken from other wards, Constantinou explained, and “hospitals must maintain their ability to treat non-Covid cases.”
Constantinou said the private sector must step in and support state hospitals in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“The private sector must contribute more than in the first wave of the virus for the staffing of the Covid wards,” Constantinou said.
More younger people have tested positive for the virus, and though initial indications are that the condition of admitted patients appears, in the main, to be less serious than during the first wave, a number still require intubation, the expert said.
The median age of hospitalised coronavirus patients has fallen to 60-61 from 68-69 in the first wave, hence fewer elderly people tested positive. Whereas the virus had hit more pensioners and people in care homes last year, who were more vulnerable to the disease.
“It’s too early to tell if cases treated are less or more serious than the ones treated in the first wave,” Constantinou said.
But it appears the situation of current ICU patients is more manageable and “fewer patients who tested positive and fewer elderly people are hospitalised”, he added.
At the same time, the younger people who get infected might need to be treated at the hospital “in a serious condition and are intubated”.
Constantinou added that the beginning of vaccinations must not reassure us and to keep abiding by the measures announced by the health ministry.