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Greece Girds for Surging COVID-19 Battle, Not Enough ICU Beds

ATHENS – Unable to hold down COVID-19 cases, deaths and people needing intensive care while trying simultaneously to gradually lift a measured lockdown, Greece faces a tough fight against the Coronavirus yet.

Health experts and government officials said the 10 day period through the beginning of April could determine how much longer non-essential businesses will stay closed after being shut down on Nov. 7, 2020.

Worry persisted after there was another record 3,856 cases on March 23, with 699 people in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) and the anxious New Democracy government conscripting 206 private doctors and some private clinics.

Faced with mounting cases, authorities are now reportedly considering the possibility of allocating more hospitals exclusively for the care of patients with the Coronavirus, said Kathimerini, but it wasn’t said if private hospitals would be commandeered as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised.

The Sismanogleio and the Korgialenio-Benakeio have already become COVI-19 hospitals, beefed up with 187 of the private doctors forced into duty after the sector largely refused to help.

The newspaper said that the Georgios Gennimatas and the Thriasio are being considered as the next in line to be converted into COVID-19 hospitals as the government employs more resources.

There was some reason for optimism after an analysis of human waste showed the viral load is starting to lessen, down 27 percent in the most populous prefecture of Attica which includes the capital.

But public hospital doctors are near frantic over the lack of ICU beds and want private hospitals to be requisitioned but Mitsotakis has shown no indication he would do that despite the rising crisis, those reserved for people who can afford them.

The Federation of Hospital Doctors Associations filed an indictment with the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office complaining that dozens of critically ill patients are being treated outside of wards and on makeshift ventilators.

regarding the treatment conditions of patients and that there’s not enough specialists to care for them.

“The government is the one that chooses to treat intubated patients outside the ICU, the government is the one that decides that COVID-19 patients are treated by doctors with irrelevant specialties,” it said, adding that “hospital doctors do not make any such choice.”

Representatives of public hospital workers said there were more than 50 intubated COVID-19 patients outside of wards, indicating they were in other rooms but didn’t say if they were in halls as sometimes happens.

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