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Lejko Zupanc: Vaccination and adherence to self-protection measures continue to be necessary and reasonable

The main topic of today's press conference was the situation in hospitals, as the number of people who need medical help due to COVID-19 infection is increasing again. Dr Tatjana Lejko Zupanc presented the situation in hospitals and Maja Bratuša presented an overview of the current epidemiological data.

The data show that 143 new cases were confirmed, with a total of 887 PCR tests and 6,416 rapid antigen tests being carried out yesterday. The number of active COVID-19 cases continues to increase. There are currently more than 5,150 active cases in the country. The 14-day incidence rose to 241, and the 7-day average of new infections rose to 422.

A total of 141 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 27 are in intensive care units. The number of occupied COVID-19 beds in our hospitals has doubled in the last week.

The delta variant requires significantly greater hospital capacities

The steep increase in cases and the number of patients is already causing problems in hospitals, said the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Tatjana Lejko Zupanc. COVID-19 wards in hospitals will reopen, even in those hospitals that were not envisaged for this purpose in the previous wave.

According to infectious disease specialist Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, the delta version actually requires much higher hospital capacities. Research has shown that in infections with this variant the risk of treatment being necessary is almost twice as high as with conventional strains.

Patients aged 60 years and over are the prevailing age group at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre, but currently there are 10 patients (one third of all patients) who are younger than 50, and four of them are even younger than 30. These people are seriously ill, and two of whom are in intensive care. Tatjana Lejko Zupanc also pointed out that a significant time distance from vaccination has been observed in patients, so in her opinion it is also possible that a decline in immune response has occurred. For this reason, as well as due to the fact that vector vaccines are not very effective against the delta version, the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases wants the vaccination advisory group to make a decision on a third vaccination dose as soon as possible. According to her, everyone who has a damaged immune system receives a booster vaccine dose at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre.

However, Tatjana Lejko Zupan emphasises that getting vaccinated is definitely the right choice, and she explicitly called on people over 50 who have risk factors for a more serious course of the disease to do so. She also called on the public to continue to strictly adhere to all self-protection measures.