The state health services (Okypy) is postponing all non-urgent operations in anticipation of a rise in hospital admissions as a result of the recent surge in coronavirus case, spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said on Wednesday.
Daily cases rose to a record high of 1,081 on Tuesday, exceeding 1,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“In the past few days it has been observed that the number of patients in ICU is rising, which is worrying,” Charilaou said, adding hospitals are going through a difficult period.
At the moment 159 people are being treated in hospitals for coronavirus, 19 of whom are in the ICU.
At three per cent of recorded cases, hospital admissions are not quite as high as the ones recorded in the last surge of the virus, when they represented five per cent of recorded cases, he said.
Despite this, the consistently high positivity rate is expected to translate into more hospital admissions in the following days.
The spokesman added that for this reason, Okypy has asked all private and public hospitals to postpone all non-urgent operations to make room for the potential increase.
In addition, to take some pressure off public hospitals that are nearing capacity and running out of beds and staff, private hospitals will soon start accepting patient transfers from the public sector.
Another aggravating factor is that a large number of staff is away on summer leave, Charilaou said.
With regards to vaccinations for hospital staff, Charilaou said there is currently no legal framework obliging them to take the vaccine.
“As soon as one is agreed upon, like in Greece, you can rest assured Okypy will stick to it,” he said.
To ensure safety within hospital spaces, all staff and visitors need to adhere to the SafePass rules applying to all closed spaces, he added.
Charilaou urged unvaccinated health professionals to get jabbed as soon as possible, if they are able to.