ATHENS – With many private hospitals still unused, Greece’s public hospitals are swelling with COVID-19 cases and seeing so many patients on ventilators that Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) have hit capacity.
That led the New Democracy government to conscript 206 private doctors to work in the hospitals after only 61 answered a call for volunteers and with no report how many private hospital ICU beds are empty.
There were 681 critically ill patients in ICU’s across the country as of March 22, near 100 percent, and 60 in rooms waiting for beds to open more than a year into the pandemic even though the number of beds had been doubled.
That showed how dangerous the situation had become during a third wave of the Coronavirus that has become worse because of an especially contagious variant from the United Kingdom and many people not wearing masks or staying safe social distances from each other.
Half of the new patients had COVID-19 but there are many with other illnesses also adding to hospitals being overwhelmed and Kathimerini said there’s not enough beds for all even if private hospitals are used.
“The lack of staff leaves no room for optimism,” a doctor from a reference hospital told the paper. “Even if we had space to treat the patients, and a stadium with beds and equipment, we do not have the staff to take care of so many patients,” the doctor added.
About 200 patients with Coronavirus are being admitted to Attica hospitals for treatment on a daily basis, a slow-rolling vaccination program not slowing the pandemic and as the government will provide self-testing kits, likely in April.
Speaking on SKAI TV, Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said a platform is already ready on which people can declare any positive self-testing results and those are positive will have to have a molecular test that will confirm the result so, for example, they can take leave from work.
The government has pushed back plans to let retail stores reopen on March 29 after they’ve been shut down since Nov. 7, 2020 although hairdressers and nail salons as well as open-air archaeological sites were allowed to open for now.