The surge in coronavirus patients has begun to put intense pressure on the healthcare system, with the Health Ministry and State Health Services (Okypy) already working on a plan to restructure how hospitals will deal with the steady influx of coronavirus patients.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said Monday that the situation at public hospitals and ICUs could become unmanageable at any moment, and called on the public to show particular caution.
“In recent days, the healthcare system has been under asphyxiating pressure due to the large number of patients and particularly due to the number of ICU admissions,” Ioannou said after meeting with Okypy officials.
“The situation is incredibly difficult and could stop being manageable at any moment,” Ioannou said, stressing that the situation is approaching the limits of what the healthcare system, in terms of both infrastructure and human resources, can take.
Plans are being drawn up in view of increasing the number of beds for coronavirus patients, which may see a number of hospital wards reappropriated to deal only with coronavirus patients, though “this will limit the abilities of public hospitals to adequately treat patients with other serious health problems,” Ioannou said.
The Health Minister said the State Health Services have requested the input of private doctors, particularly pulmonologists and pathologists, to contribute to the efforts to deal with the increasing needs.
“The coming days are crucial,” Ioannou said, noting that the increased daily coronavirus cases of previous days will inevitably translate into higher numbers of hospital admissions, and called on the public to make use of the free rapid tests offered by the Health Ministry.
The Famagusta general hospital, designated since the outbreak of the pandemic as the hospital that will mainly deal with coronavirus patients, is approaching the safety limit set by the Ministry of Health, while the Nicosia general hospital has begun to make some adjustments to accommodate more patients. According to the plan, general wards in public hospitals are expected to shrink, even close completely, in order to provide more beds for coronavirus patients.
The hundreds of confirmed coronavirus cases that are reported daily have inevitably also brought an increase in hospitalizations.
On Sunday night, the Health Ministry said general hospitals are treating 154 coronavirus patients, of which 57 are in critical condition and 25 are intubated.
The Famagusta general hospital is nearing full capacity, as 71 patients were receiving treatment there on Monday morning, leaving just four beds vacant, while its ICU is already at full capacity with six patients. While Okypy had initially planned to increase the number of beds at the Famagusta general hospital to 88, this number was reduced to 75 for security reasons.