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Coronavirus: Hospitals, already under strain, set to see numbers increase (Updated)

feature theo1 there were 79 people in hospital with the virus on march 2, nine days later that had reached 185

Famagusta hospital, the reference hospital for coronavirus cases, is currently 99 per cent full, its medical director Amalia Hadjiyianni said on Monday.

By Monday night 284 people were in hospital with coronavirus complications islandwide, up from 270 earlier in the day.

“Today 74 patients with coronavirus are being treated at the general hospital of Famagusta, of which six are in the high dependency unit, as they need closer monitoring,” she said on Monday morning.

“The hospital has reached 99 per cent of its capacity since a total of 75 people can be treated.”

She said the overall condition of the majority of patients is considered serious and they are dependent on supplemental oxygen.

The youngest patient is a 26-year-old woman without any pre-existing health conditions.

“The pandemic seems to be affecting all ages. This should scare everybody as even a person without a record can be severely ill,” she added, with the average age of patients at the Famagusta hospital having been reduced to 59, “signalling that we are all vulnerable and we must all continue to adhere to protective measures”.

The state health services organisation (Okypy) said it was working to ensure there are enough hospital beds available islandwide for Covid patients as numbers are set to continue increasing, officials said on Monday.

Hospitalisations are likely to increase in the following days, following the pattern of increasing daily cases in recent weeks with people tending to end up in hospital between seven to ten days after they test positive, said Okypy spokesman Charalambos Charilaou.

To manage increased admissions, additional wards for coronavirus have been established at Larnaca general hospital, with a second ward there receiving its first patients on Saturday.

Some 36 patients with coronavirus were being treated in Larnaca with two of them in the high dependency unit.

Meanwhile, expansion is also expected at the Paphos Covid ward, currently at 48 beds.

“The operation of the second Covid ward in Paphos general hospital is expected either today or tomorrow, so that more patients can be treated,” Charialou said.

If needed, patients will be transferred for treatment to different districts, the spokesman added.

The new plan for the state hospitals was met with a strong reaction from by Polis Chrysochous municipality and surrounding communities as two of the local hospital’s doctors have been relocated to Paphos and certain wards will have to close temporarily. A Polis Chrysochou cardiologist was also recently transferred to Limassol Covid ward.

Charilalou concluded that the move was deemed necessary as “we are facing a crisis, which must be best managed”. He added that Polis Chrysochou has a 24/7 emergency department so that “there is no question of endangering anyone’s life”.

Saying “the only defence available” against the virus are vaccinations, Charilaou called on everyone to book a Covid jab when their turn comes but also keep abiding by personal hygiene measures.

Okypy is also proceeding with “targeted actions” to increase vaccinations among health professionals following reports that a percentage of them refused the Covid jab.

“We are discussing with them and arranging meetings to resolve any doubts that might exist,” Charialou said, adding that some of those who did not get vaccinated so far expressed interest in doing so.

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