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North Greece: Hospitals in dramatic situation; 300 Covid-deaths in 15 days

At least 300 people have died of COVID in Macedonia and Thrace hospitals in northern Greece over the last fortnight. 85-87 percent of them were unavaccinated. The total number of fatalities due to the pandemic in the last two weeks is 479 across the country. The situation in the hospitals in Central and Northern parts of the country is dramatic, with Covid- and Non-Covid-patients in need of ICU are being treated in ordinary wards. At the same time, hospitals in Athens have started to feel the pressure of the pandemic as well, doctors report.

Covid-deaths & hospitalizations in N. Greece

From  October 22 to November 8, 160 Covid-patients died in Thessaloniki and Western Macedonia, while in the time October 25-November 8, a total of 159 Covid-patients died in Thessaloniki, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, stat-run news agency amna reports on Monday.

A total of 1,167 Covid-patients were being treated in ordinary hospital beds and ICUs in the area on Monday. Of them 1,008 are in ordinary hospital beds and 159 in ICU.

There are currently  529 patients being treated for Covid-19 in ordinary wards (74.9% unvaccinated) and 91 in ICUs (91.2% unvaccinated) in the 14 hospitals of the 3rd Regional Health Unit (Thessaloniki and Western Macedonia).

In the 14 hopitals of the 4th Regional Health Unit (Thessaloniki, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace), there were another 479 patients (of which 74.3% are unvaccinated) in ordinary wards and 61 (89.7% unvaccinated) in ICUs.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris said during his visit to Thessaloniki last Friday, most of the vaccinated Covid patients being treated in ICUs had been vaccinated more than six months ago.

Hospitals in northern, central Greece

Workers at Ippokratio hospital in Thessaloniki speak of  “nightmarish” on duty service on Sunday with ambulances queuing outside the building waiting to deliver people in urgent need of medical care, patients waiting for hours outside the ER. A Covid-clinic that opened on Saturday reached full capacity in just a few hours. A total of 150 admissions in ordinary beds, among them also 4 intubated patients.

A patient told local news website gttimes, that he was waited from 12 o’ clock noon until 8 o’ clock in the evening to undergo an X-ray on his foot.

The president of the Hospitals Workers’ Union, Christos Tzelepis, spoke of a dramatic vigil that ended at 8:00 on Monday morning at Ippokratio with dozens of young patients infected with coronavirus.

According to unverified reports, the majority of them were younger than 45 years old.

53 patients were confirmed positive with Covid-19 and another 17 were suspected to be positive, as tests results were not out yet.

Tzelepis underlined the fact that medical and nursing staff is short due to suspension of work for being unvaccinated or due to retirement and that this staff has not been replaced. He added that working doctors and nurse are suffering from burned out as infections have dramatically increased since beginning of last month.

The ICU director of the “Papanikolaou” Hospital, Nikos Kapravelos, described in the darkest colors the situation that currently prevails in northern Greece due to the coronavirus. He told ANT1 TV on Sunday that patients outside the ICU were intubated and that on Monday, the hospital starts on duty without any free beds in the ICU.

“We are living in moments of November 2020 again” Kapravelos said. He attributed the explosion of Covid-cases in northern Greece in general and in Thessaloniki in particular, to the fact that vaccination rates are very low and that the pandemic protection measures are not observed.

There are reports of the public hospital in Volos that three victims of traffic accidents in need of ICU are being treated in normal wards, and ICU beds are full due to Covid-19.

According to state broadcaster ERT, the situation in Volos hospital is also gloomy with 110 patients treated in the Covid-clinic. 10 of them are intubated in ICU and another 5 outside the ICU, in normal wards.

Doctors warn of the operation capacity of the hospital and stress that the oxygen supplies are not enough.

Difficult is the situation also in Athens, where the on duty at “Gennimatas” hospital ended with patients on stretchers in corridors. President of Attica Doctors’ Association, Matina Pagoni,spoke metaphorically of a shift on duty similar to the “Night of St Bartholew.”

Pagoni said that Gennimmatas had to borrow stretchers for the patients from “Sotiria” hospital.

She stressed that the majority of Covid-patients admitted to Gennimatas since Sunday were aged 28-45, most of them unvaccinated, some serious cases especially overweight patients with underlined health issues were intubated and so did that serious cases of non-Covid. Και τα non COVID βαριά περιστατικά”.

Pagoni predicted that daily coronavirus infections will soon reach 10,000.

Since October 30, daily cases in Greece range between 6,100 and 6,900 and and an average of below 4,000 in two weeks earlier.

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