STA, 16 October 2020 - Coronavirus transmissions keep gaining pace in Slovenia with 834 of 5,196 tests performed on Thursday coming back positive and the rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents rising by 27 in a day to 257.21.
The Covid-19 death toll has hit 180 after four more fatalities were reported for Thursday, according to fresh data provided at today's press briefing by sombre-looking government spokesman Jelko Kacin.
These show that Covid-19 hospitalisations have risen to 242, up by 20 from the day before, despite nine discharges. 45 patients are being treated in intensive care units (ICU), five more than the day before.
After Slovenia has already passed the 14-day average of 140 cases per 100,000 residents, one of three indicators beyond which the government plans to declare an epidemic, it is fast nearing the other two; 250 hospitalisations and 50 ICU patients.
Kacin said the government was expected to decide on potential new measures tonight, after new restrictions kicked in today in seven out of Slovenia's 12 statistical regions.
The latest cases, coming after 745 and 707 in the previous two days, bring the overall tally to 11,517, of which 5,413 remain active infections, according to tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.
Kacin noted that the new increase was despite slightly fewer tests being conducted on Thursday (5,196) than Wednesday (5,287) with the rate of positive tests hitting an all time high of 16%.
Joining Kacin in appeals for everyone to abide by precautions such as wearing face masks in order to turn down the curve, infectiologist Tomaž Vovko from the UKC Ljubljana Department of Infectious Diseases, the country's main Covid-19 treatment facility, described the situation as "horrible".
The ICU unit there has four speciality doctors attending to 20 Covid-19 patients, aged between 42 and 85, where normally one doctor would be attending to 1.7 patient.
"We are working much harder than ever before. Our nurses that we have been working with for 20 years say they have never been facing such a burden before. They know what needs to be done for patients, but they simply cannot keep it up," Vovko said.
He repeated that while the number of hospital beds could be expanded, "we cannot clone" the staff qualified to treat the patients. "The situation is grave indeed," he added.
Asked about the suitability of Covid-19 patients from a care home in Škofja Loka (NW) being moved to a sports arena, Vovko said the conditions would be unsuitable everywhere in a fortnight.
Due to the work overload, quarantine orders are being issued with considerable delays so these are no longer being issued to risk contacts, Vovko said, saying that everyone should presume they were exposed and act accordingly.
Kacin also urged everyone to download the coronavirus exposure mobile tracing app. Data as of 14 October show the app has been downloaded by almost 129,000 users with 455 TAN-codes issued in a fortnight, of which 282 were in fact submitted.
The capital Ljubljana again confirmed the biggest surge in cases, with the number of active infections increasing by 119 to 797 for a per capita infection rate of 0.270%, followed by Kranj, where they rose by 34 to 204 (0.357%).
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