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Greek Public Hospital ICUs Struggle to Cope With COVID-19

December 17, 2020

ATHENS – The New Democracy government not commandeering private hospitals as vowed, Greece’s public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are being overwhelmed with the number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators, despite facilities beefed up.

Those daunting numbers – 550 people in ICUs as of Dec. 16 – led a government advisory panel of doctors and scientists to further recommend against any easing of a second lockdown that began Nov. 7 and was extended to at least Jan. 7, 2021.

That goes through the Christmas, New Year and Epiphany Day period that’s critical to businesses staggering after a first 10-week shutdown in the spring as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is trying to balance savings lives and the economy.

Those in ICUs are fighting for their lives, most of them elderly or with underlying conditions, with 98 deaths on Dec. 16 raising the grim toll to 3,875, and 1,240 more cases.

The Panhellenic Federation of State Hospital Employees (POEDIN) warned again that hospitals won’t be able to deal with the numbers if they keep rising but the government still hasn’t moved to take over private hospitals ICU’s or ventilators.

POEDIN noted that while the daily infection rate may have fallen, ICUs in northern and central Greece were struggling to cope, with hospitals in Larissa, Thessaloniki and Kavala hit hardest, said Kathimerini.

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