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Burnout is the result of physical and mental strain when dealing with patient deaths

The press conference on the current situation relating to COVID-19 was attended by Boštjan Koritnik, Minister of Public Administration, Dr Matjaž Vogrin, Medical Director of Maribor University Medical Centre, and Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin.
Boštjan Koritnik

Boštjan Koritnik | Author Danijel Novakovič/STA

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Some 6,158 tests were done yesterday, of which 1,627 cases were positive. The proportion of positive tests was 26.4 per cent.

The following municipalities stand out as regards yesterday’s number of positive cases: Krško 79, Novo mesto 40, Brežice 33, Sevnica 25, Trebnje 21, Črnomelj 19, Ivančna Gorica 16, Slovenska Bistrica 51, Celje 32, Velenje 24 and Žalec 20.

The hotspots in the vicinity of Ljubljana, which has 176 new cases, are also growing. The data on other municipalities reads as follows: Šmartno pri Litiji 45, Domžale 36, Kamnik 28, Vrhnika 19 and Ivančna Gorica 16. Some other municipalities are also a cause for concern, i.e. Kranj 38, Preddvor 19, Tržič 16, Škofja Loka 15, Koper 44, Postojna 23, Tolmin 21, Žalec and Zagorje ob Savi 20, Maribor 61, and Pesnica 13.

Hospitals admitted 136 new patients and discharged 86 patients. A total of 1,304 patients are hospitalised, which is three more than on Sunday. Some 193 patients require intensive care, three fewer than on Sunday. A total of 66 people died; 47 in hospitals and 17 in retirement homes.

In retirement homes, some 171 residents and 104 staff members, of whom 73 are health professionals, have recently recovered. Retirements homes that reported more than ten recovered residents yesterday include: the Idrija Unit of Idrija Retirement Home (11), Gradišče Retirement Home (17), Rakičan Retirement Home (17), Fužine Retirement Home (18), and Ormož Retirement Home (21). A great number of new positive COVID-19 cases was also found yesterday in retirement homes, i.e. 223 residents and 61 staff members, of whom 36 are health professionals, which totals 284 and amounts to 17.5 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases confirmed yesterday.

The largest increase in positive cases among residents, i.e. more than ten, was recorded in the following retirement homes: Idila Retirement Home in Jarenina (11), Vrhnika Retirement Home (13), Metlika Retirement Home (14), Bežigrad Retirement Home (17), Preddvor Retirement Home (18), Danica Vogrinec Retirement Home in Maribor (22) and 30 in Tisje Retirement Home in Šmartno pri Litiji, of a total of 45 new cases in the municipality. This completes the presentation of epidemiological data by Kacin.

The Municipality of Maribor is currently under a great burden due to the number of positive cases, which is also reflected in Maribor University Medical Centre according to Dr Vogrin. More than 200 patients are currently hospitalised in the institution, 45 of them in intensive care units. The number of patients has not changed in three weeks. Many staff members are absent from work, i.e. 878; 300 who have tested positive for COVID-19 and others due to burnout and other reasons. Some 52 doctors and 160 nurses are absent. The burnout is the result of physical and mental strain, particularly in three COVID-19 intensive units and the emergency department. 

A total of 107 hospitalisations were recorded in the first wave. The second wave is already ten times larger, currently amounting to 1,064 patients. The hospital has already commenced regular testing and has tested between 1,500 and 2,000 asymptomatic health workers, of whom five per cent tested positive.

Dr Vogrin thanked the dispatch centre and other hospitals that have admitted their patients in recent weeks. The University Medical Centre is feeling the pressure from retirement homes regarding additional hospitalisations. They lack equipment such as oxygen cylinders, which are issued at state level, requiring action by the Ministry of Health.

The average age of patients who die is 84. Many have pre-existing conditions but could have lived several months or years more. However, COVID-19 was so severe in their cases that certain life functions failed. According to Dr Vogrin, mortality in November was 70 per cent higher than in the same month of 2019, and the data for October reveal a 26-per cent increase. Some 1,500 fewer operations are being performed in Maribor University Medical Centre on a monthly basis, and there are between 10,000 and 15,000 fewer outpatient examinations.

Minister Koritnik presented the informative vaccination application that may be submitted electronically at the e-government portal in two ways: with the use of a digital electronic certificate or by entering personal data in the entry fields. The data will be available to the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health, which will implement procedures for vaccinating citizens who express their interest. The Minister confirmed that simplified methods for acquiring qualified digital certificates are being prepared so that the physical presence of an individual at an administrative unit would not be necessary.

Kacin confirmed at the end of the press conference that possible easing of certain measures could have a positive effect, whereby he highlighted the possibility of opening hair salons, public passenger transport and certain stores.