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Vaccination and mass testing very successful

State Secretary at the Ministry of Health Marija Magajne reacted to the successful first day of vaccinations, which took place across the country. Vaccination went smoothly and according to plan, the vaccine was well tolerated among the patients, there were no reports of adverse reactions, and there was a lot of optimism among the elderly.

State Secretary Marija Magajne

State Secretary Marija Magajne | Author Tamino Petelinšek, STA

Epidemiological picture

In the first part of the press conference, Maja Bratuša, assistant to the government's spokesman Jelko Kacin, reported that 1,664 PCR tests were carried out yesterday, of which 493 were positive, which is 29.6 per cent. On Saturday, 26 December, 1,880 PCR tests were carried out, of which there were 548 new COVID cases.  The proportion of positive PCR tests was similar to yesterday's, standing at 29.1 per cent.

In addition, 312 rapid antigen tests were also carried out yesterday, of which 24, or 7.7 per cent, were positive. Slightly more rapid tests were carried out on Saturday, namely 558. Of these, 66 were positive, which is a positivity rate for rapid tests of 11.8 per cent.

Thirty-eight COVID patients were discharged from hospital yesterday, and 98 patients were admitted to hospital. A total of 174 patients were admitted to hospital last weekend, while 75 patients were sent home. Thus, 1,221 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in hospital, 42 more than the day before. The number of patients being treated in intensive care increased by two to 207. Thirty people died on Sunday, 20 in hospitals and ten at home.

Yesterday, the seven-day and 14-day average of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants stood at 421.5 and 874.5, respectively.

In the period from 24 to 27 December, 150 residents of old people's home and 102 employees recovered from COVID-19. A total of 6,287 residents and 2,899 employees of old people's home have recovered from coronavirus so far (in the second wave since 20 July). The old people's homes which reported a large number of recovered patients over the holiday weekend are:  DEOS Ljubljana, Center Trnovo (30), Senecura Maribor (92), DU Postojna (11), Dom ob Savinji Celje (13) and DU Polzela (13).

In the period from 24 to 27 December, there were 100 new cases among residents of old people's homes, bringing the current number of cases among residents to 1665. Among employees a further 25 cases were confirmed, and the number of active cases currently stands at 669. The biggest increases in cases over the weekend were at: Dom ob Savinji Celje (11), Dom upokojencev in oskrbovancev Impoljca, Sevnica Unit (14) and Zavod Svete Terezije Dobrepolje (11).

State Secretary Magajne: Vaccinations continue

Slovenia will receive another 6,825 doses of the vaccine this week. We will vaccinate healthcare workers with this vaccine, Magajne outlined the plan. In the next month, Slovenia will receive 16,500 doses each week.

On 18 December, the ministry called on health centres and hospitals to start collecting applications for vaccination of persons belonging to priority groups. According to the National Vaccination Strategy, these start with people aged 80 and over, then people aged over 70 and then those aged over 60, as well as chronic patients who are more at risk of experiencing a more serious form of the disease.

New locations for mass testing

An updated list of locations where mass testing will be carried out this week is available on the Ministry of Health website. Two rapid testing locations have been established in Ljubljana, at Kongresni trg and Vilharjev podhod, where testing will be carried out between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day until the end of the year.

Tomorrow (29 December), testing will be organised in Koper, Slovenj Gradec, Cerklje, Zagorje ob Savi, Medvode, Pivka, Postojna, Ilirska Bistrica, Sežana, Podčetrtek and Črnomelj.

On Saturday (30 December), mass testing will take place in Radenci, Sveti Andraž and Dol pri Ljubljani from noon until 5 p.m.

Tomorrow and Wednesday (29 and 30 December), rapid testing will be available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Ravne na Koroškem, Kranj and Šentjur, where testing will also be available on 31 December, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.  In Slovenska Bistrica, mass testing will be available on 29 December and after the new year holidays on 4 and 5 January, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. 

Mass testing has been very well received among the general public. Many people attending for testing have made positive statements saying that they wish to act responsibly, that it is the duty of every individual, that it is not difficult to queue for testing, and so on. The State Secretary therefore believes that it is sensible for the ministry to encourage mass testing as the identification of asymptomatic positive cases is an important factor in limiting the spread of the virus, especially those found in the general population.

State Secretary Magajne confirmed that the healthcare workers who administered the vaccinations had noticed that there was still some vaccine left in the bottles after the vaccination of five people, which could have been used for a sixth vaccination. The position of the ministry is that the opinion of the regulator should be followed. The European Medicines Agency, which also granted the marketing authorisation, states that five doses should be administered, which is also the opinion of the manufacturer Pfizer.

Rapid testing of schoolchildren has not previously been envisaged. Given the positive response to testing among the general public, as well as among healthcare workers, the State Secretary expects that the education sector will express an interest and that there will be testing.