Virus transmission higher in gatherings of large groups
Today's press conference about the current situation related to COVID-19 featured Eva Grilc, an epidemiologist of the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ), and Aleš Rozman, the director of the University Clinic for Pulmonary Diseases and Allergies Golnik.
A total of 26 patients were admitted to hospital yesterday, in addition to as many as 71 on the day before, which implies that the situation in hospitals is not improving. 40 patients were discharged from hospital yesterday, and 58 on the day before. 15 persons died yesterday (14 in hospitals and one person in a care home for the elderly).
The number of patients in hospitals remains high. A total of 621 Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in Slovenian hospitals. Occupation of beds in intensive therapy units also remains higher than we would like it to be. A total of 155 Covid-19 patients require intensive care.
The number of performed tests presented today is lower than usual because Tuesday was a work-free holiday. A total of 2,007 PCR tests and 4,143 rapid antigen tests were carried out yesterday. 398 new cases were confirmed with PCR tests.
Eva Grilc of the NIJZ stressed that the 14-day number of confirmed cases by gender and age groups showed that the number of infections was the highest in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups. The 14-day number of confirmed cases per 100,000 citizens, meanwhile, shows that people aged 15-24 years are in the forefront.
According to Grilc, the situation in care homes for the elderly has improved significantly following successful vaccination. A lower number of new cases of infections and significantly fewer deaths have been recorded.
As regards the pandemic, Grilc noted that it was still active both in Slovenia and throughout the world. The number of infected people is increasing, and European countries remain major hot spots. The pandemic is slowing down in certain countries (Portugal, Finland), although the absolute indicators of the pandemic are still very high, she said.
The hospitalisation rate in the EU member states is also very high, including in Slovenia, although it is among the 16 countries where mortality trends are favourable, added Grilc.
Aleš Rozman of the Golnik Clinic said that the British strain is not only more virulent, but that it also causes somewhat more challenging symptoms. It also causes more difficult convalescence among the young population.
With successful vaccination of the older age groups, the proportion of younger patients is increasing. In the Golnik Clinic, these are patients aged 60-70 years, and there are also a few patients from the 50-60 age group.
Rozman also stressed that the number of patients with post-Covid syndrome is increasing at the clinic. Patients who recover from the disease in its milder form do not recuperate as expected, as they experience fatigue for several months after recovery, and their sense of smell and taste do not fully return.
Regarding the spreading of the virus, Rozman said that the virus did not differentiate between people gathering for political purposes or for cultural events or rock concerts. Transmission of the virus is higher everywhere where people gather in large groups, in smaller spaces, and in particular if they are not protected with face masks. In a mass of people who stand closely together, especially where there is a lot of cheering, singing, loud speech and shouting, an aerosol is created from which people can contract the virus, he explained.