82 Covid Cases Monday; Worries Over Medical Staff; Corona Measures Hurting Transport System

By , 15 Sep 2020, 12:55 PM Politics
82 Covid Cases Monday; Worries Over Medical Staff; Corona Measures Hurting Transport System covid-19.sledilnik.org

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STA, 15 September 2020 - Slovenia's coronavirus case count passed the 3,800 mark after 82 more people tested positive on Monday, just as the number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 rose by ten to 50, fresh data from the government show.

Ten Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care, one more than the day before.

The latest cases come from 2,247 tests for Sars-CoV-2. Since the start of the pandemic, Slovenia has carried out 185,220 tests.

The country has so far confirmed 3,831 coronavirus cases, of which 907 remain active, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

There have been 135 Covid-19-related deaths, with no fatalities for more than ten days now.

Nurses in Maribor catch coronavirus, shortage of health staff on horizon

STA, 15 September 2020 - Eleven infections were confirmed among UKC Maribor staff at the weekend and around 30 more employees are self-isolating. This leaves the second largest hospital with a shortage of staff, while the number of patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms is increasing. Director Vojko Flis says this is worrying.

Ten nurses and one physiotherapist at the internal medicine clinic got infected from two patients brought in from the Danica Vogrinec Home for the Elderly, one of the hotspots in the country. They were taken to hospital due to an emergency which was however not related to Covid-19.

There are no doctors among the infected staff, but testing continues. Still, UKC Maribor's internal medicine clinic is now working at two-third capacity, Flis told the press in Maribor on Tuesday.

"The situation is rather unpredictable, and unmanageable when it comes to infections getting into the hospital," he said, stressing a large number of infections in the Maribor area made preventing the virus from entering the hospital very hard.

UKC Maribor reintroduced a unit for Covid-19 treatment in mid-July after it had it up and running during the first wave of epidemic, which formally ended on 31 May.

Flis said some new measures will have to be put in place if severely ill Covid-19 patients continue to arrive, including a single entry point to the hospital.

New beds for Covid-19 patients only will also have to be provided.

UKC Maribor expects to provide up to ten more beds for coronavirus intensive care. Once they are full, the Celje Hospital would start receiving Covid-19 patients.

There are currently 20 Covid-19 patients at UKC Maribor and another three in intensive care who require ventilation.

Since additional beds entail staff reorganisation, this affects the hospital's regular treatments. "We have a problem with staff, rather than space," said Flis.

UKC Ljubljana's department of infectious diseases will meanwhile activate plan B if the number of Covid-19 patients continues to rise.

This means non-coronavirus patients from two units and the main intensive care unit for non-coronavirus patients would be moved to another location in Ljubljana.

Having four Covid-19 patients and six with other diseases in intensive care "means our intensive care unit is full", Mateja Logar from the clinic said in Ljubljana on Monday.

The department's other units meanwhile had 15 Covid-19 patients and another 40 with other infectious diseases yesterday.

However, Covid-19 patients represent less than 1% of all hospitalised patients at UKC Ljubljana, the country's largest hospital.

So even if the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations rises, the hospital wants to keep the level of health services for the other patients at the same level as now.

"Today we proposed to the health minister some measures to provide staff for units where Covid-19 patients are treated or processed," UKC Ljubljana director general Janez Poklukar said yesterday.

Speaking at Tuesday's daily coronavirus briefing, the government's spokesperson Jelko Kacin labelled the epidemiological situation as serious.

He announced everything should be ready by Thursday so that the government could take additional measures, should it assess they were needed.

The national healthcare system is gearing up to launch the fourth unit for Covid-19 treatments, he said.

Apart from UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor, the Golnik University Clinic is currently also accepting coronavirus patients, but Covid-19 units are running out of beds.

A considerably larger number of hospitalisations is likely as early as the second half of September, said Kacin, warning the virus was also spreading in work environments, pointing to Maribor's Danica Vogrinec Home for the Elderly, the Braslovče Primary School, food-processing company Pivka Perutninarstvo, UKC Maribor and UKC Ljubljana.

UKC Ljubljana told the STA it had six infections among its staff over the past week. However, none of them caught the virus at work.

Anti-corona measures hurting Slovenia's transport

STA, 15 September 2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a major drop in Slovenia's transport. July saw a 39% decrease in ships year-on-year and zero cruise ships. Only six passengers visited Slovenia by sea, less than 1% compared to the same period last year. Ljubljana airport experienced a 90% plunge in passenger traffic.

The port of Koper, Slovenia's sole port, saw a drop in cargo volume - roughly a million tonnes of cargo were transshipped in July, down almost 35% year-on-year, said the Statistics Office on Tuesday, adding that the precaution measures had had an impact on bus and air traffic as well.

Almost two million passengers used city buses in July, a 43% decrease compared to the same month in 2019. Meanwhile, some 710,200 used intercity and international connections, down 29% year-on-year.

About 21,000 passengers passed through Ljubljana airport in July, as much as 90% fewer year-on-year. Cargo traffic at the airport was also down by 15%.

On the other hand, roads seemed to have been busier in July, with the number of new vehicles on the rise. Vehicles hitting the road for the first time in July were up by 3% year-on-year to 12,800. Among them, some 6,400 were new passenger cars, a 7% increase compared to July 2019.

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