COVID-19 & Slovenia, Wed 16/09: 123 New Cases; Hospitals Increase Capacity; Newspapers, Magazines Allowed in Salons Again

By , 16 Sep 2020, 17:35 PM Politics
COVID-19 & Slovenia, Wed 16/09: 123 New Cases; Hospitals Increase Capacity; Newspapers, Magazines Allowed in Salons Again

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123 New Cases; Hospitals Increase Capacity; Newspapers, Magazines Allowed in Salons Again

Record 123 new Covid-19 cases confirmed in 3,123 tests on Tuesday

STA, 16 September - A record 123 new Covid-19 cases were discovered in Slovenia on Tuesday as 3,123 persons were tested for the coronavirus, the second highest testing figure to date. There were no deaths, but the number of active cases has risen to 975, shows the official data, released on Wednesday.

The number of hospitalised patients is up by 12 to 61 and the number of those in intensive care by one to 11. Officials announced the Celje general hospital will now become the fourth hospital to admit infected patients.

The number of total cases since the first one was confirmed on 4 March stands at 3,954 and the number of deaths at 135, with the last one recorded almost two weeks ago.

The government's coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin said at today's daily briefing that 48 Tuesday cases had been locally transmitted, only two cases had been imported, while the sources of infection for 20 cases remained unknown.

The number of infections of unknown origin has been falling, which Kacin finds encouraging. He believes it is a result of "citizens heeding our calls to be honest and cooperate with epidemiologists".

Pivka, a small municipality in south-west, which saw a spike in new cases on Sunday and tightened nation-wide protective measures on Monday, currently has 18 infected residents, Mayor Rober Smrdelj said at today's briefing.

He said a special line is being planned for Pivka residents suspecting to be infected to call to speed up access to GP and testing.

Civil Protection head for the Notranjska region Sandi Curk said last evening new cases in Pivka were recorded at the primary school and the food-processing company Pivka Perutninarstvo, both of which are the municipality's hotspots.

The number of all infected workers at Pivka Perutninarstvo has risen from 18 to 38, the company said today, adding that some had fallen ill while already in quarantine.

Production at the poultry processing-company nevertheless runs smoothly, and tests have shown there is no risk of the virus being transmitted from people to food.

The situation at the elderly home in Črneče in Koroška region, north, has also not stabilised yet, with 16 cases confirmed so far, of which 12 in residents.

Director Srečko Mlačnik told the STA all the infected cases are from the same unit, with two of the infected residents being taken to hospital.

The unit - now classified as a grey zone - is separated from the rest of the care home, while the ten infected residents are accommodated at the red zone.

The four infected employees are self-isolating, so Mlačnik fears a lack of staff at what is the biggest home for the elderly in Koroška, with 263 beds.

The spread of the novel coronavirus has meanwhile calmed down at another hotspot, the Danica Vogrinec Home for the Elderly in Maribor, north-east, where a Covid-19 outbreak took place at the start of last week.

There are now 42 infected persons, of whom 25 residents and 17 staff, but director Marko Slavič said that only one in 200 tests performed this week came back positive.

"We are happy to note a downward trend in new infections," he said on Wednesday.

However, since 30 staff have been quarantined, the care home's Tabor unit lacks more than half of its staff, who are now working in extremely hard conditions.

Meanwhile, Adolf Lukanovič, a doctor who recovered from a severe form of Covid-19 in spring, presented his experience with the disease.

He said he had spent 900 hours or 37.5 days connected to a ventilator after he was admitted to hospital on 9 March and his condition quickly worsened.

The former medical director of UKC Ljubljana's Gynaecology Clinic said the disease should not be underestimated, adding it made him sad to see some politicise the the epidemic and claim it was made up.

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As Covid-19 cases rise, hospitals ramping up admission capacity

STA, 16 September 2020 - Slovenian hospitals have had to quickly ramp up their capacity for admitting coronavirus patients as the number of those hospitalised with Covid-19 more than doubled in less than a week to 61, of whom 11 are in intensive care. The Celje general hospital will now become the fourth hospital to admit infected patients.

Covid-19 patients are currently treated at the university medical centres in Ljubljana and Maribor, and at the Golnik Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases.

The hospital in Celje is expected to start admitting patients on Thursday providing two intensive care beds, five beds for those with mild symptoms and 19 beds in a "grey zone" for patients with suspected but not yet confirmed infections.

The total number of hospitalisations is still well below the 100-plus peak recorded in late March and early April, but given the surge of new cases - a record 123 were confirmed yesterday - it is expected that hospital admissions will spike as well.

And while the majority of new cases were in the younger population in the summer, older people are starting to account for a rising share of overall infections.

Jelko Kacin, the government's spokesman for Covid-19, yesterday said that the number of patients was likely to start increasing significantly in the second half of September.

The current situation is however different than it was during the first wave of the epidemic, as many currently in hospital are non-symptomatic patients that have been temporarily moved to hospital from nursing homes.

This is in line a decision made in early summer to help nursing homes that suffer outbreaks better organise their work by relocating asymptomatic patients to hospital.

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Newspapers, magazines again available at catering, beauty establishments

STA, 16 September 2020 - Restaurants, bars, hairdresser's and beauty salons are again allowed to offer their clients newspapers and magazines on the premises, as the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) lifted the ban in early September.

NIJZ nevertheless says there is a risk of contracting the coronavirus from browsing through papers and magazines, especially if the epidemiological situation is not good. However, it is significantly reduced if hygiene protocols are strictly observed.

Clients are also advised to wear a face mask while browsing or reading, they must be notified of the risk of infection and provided instructions about basic precaution measures.

The lifting of the ban comes despite the ongoing sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, which started on 8 September, and after some newspaper companies had been warning for months that the measures was "disproportionate".

Commenting on the lifting of the ban, the newspaper Delo said today that NIJZ had not notified anyone the measure had been lifted, whereas newspaper companies had witnessed many subscription cancellations due to the ban.

NIJZ admitted it had not informed anyone, saying there were so many different recommendations so everyone should check for the latest information for their line of business.

Restaurants, bars, hairdresser's and beauty parlours were allowed to reopen when the nation-wide lockdown, imposed in mid- March, was significantly eased on 4 May.

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