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COVID-19 Critical Cases Filling Up Greek Public Hospital ICU Units

February 23, 2021

ATHENS – As health experts are holding their breath for COVID-19 cases to fall during a third lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus, the number of people needing to be put on ventilators is raising alarm.

The New Democracy hasn’t yet, as it said it would, moved to commandeer private hospitals to help in the fight against the pandemic even as the public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) are filling fast.

The newspaper Kathimerini reported the Health Ministry will add ICU 38 beds in the prefecture of Attica, which includes the Greek capital as even a doubling of beds during the year-long health crisis hasn’t been enough

As of Feb. 21, Attica had 255 ICU beds dedicated to COVID-19 cases and Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis told reporters the additional beds will be at Athens’ ΚΑΤ, Ippokrateio and Evangelismos hospitals.

More than 150 patients were admitted to hospitals that day with the occupancy rate of the ICU’s nearing 85 percent but still no move made to use those in private hospitals.

On Feb. 22, the ICUs of Gennimatas, Sismanoglio, Elpis, Asklipieio and NIMTS were full, mostly with the elderly and those with underlying or multiple conditions but a 20-day infant with COVID-19 was being treated at Aglaia Kyriakou’s Children's Hospital.

There were 880 cases that day, with 396 reported in Attica, 85 in the second-largest city of Thessaloniki, 65 in Achaia and 31 in Larissa as the government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists was regularly checking epidemiological data.

The third lockdown, with more restrictions than a lenient second closing of non-essential businesses that saw normal traffic on the streets, was almost certainly set to go beyond Feb. 2 when it was set to lift.

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