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Spreading COVID-19 Putting Squeeze on Greek Hospital ICU's

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – As the second wave of COVID-19 in Greece is becoming almost uncontrollable, worry is growing that there won't be enough Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in hospitals, although more had been added during the pandemic.

Cases have soared past more than 300 and 453 on one day, putting added pressure on the public health sector although it wasn't said if the government would commandeer expensive private hospitals where the rich go.

Speaking on SKAI TV, the President of the Athens and Piraeus hospital doctors’ association (EINAP), Matina Pagoni, said that the Greek capital’s Attiko Hospital has begun to convert intensive care units into COVID-19 ICUs.

She said that the Gennimata Hospital also planned to dedicate more of its ICUs to Coronavirus patients. 

“Right now, Evangelismos Hospital has reached full capacity. It cannot take any more patients, it is full with Covid-19 cases,” she added of perhaps the best of the city's public hospitals.

Pagoni said that 580 patients across the country are on ventilators, with the government doubling the capacity over the last six months with the help of the Diaspora and benefactors, absent shipping oligarchs who have done little.

She said that the average age of intubated patients was 68 years old, but adding that some of them were as young as 17 years old with more young becoming infected as they party and won't stay the required safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart from each other.

Health authorities announced 346 more cases Sept. 22, bringing the nationwide total to 15,928. Another eight patients died, bringing the toll to 352. 

New measures went into effect Sept. 21 for at least two weeks, extending the requirement to wear masks into outdoor public spaces such as the open air markets called laiki.

New Democracy government officials and a specialist health team will be monitoring the situation to see if a second lockdown, localized to specific hot spot neighborhoods or areas, will be necessary.