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State Secretary Vindišar: The current approach to COVID-19 must be changed

Mag. Franc Vindišar, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health, attended today’s press conference and presented the situation in Slovenian hospitals. He pointed out that our health system is currently facing numerous challenges.

Franc Vindišar, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health

Franc Vindišar, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health | Author Urad vlade za komuniciranje

Prior to the epidemic, 15 hospitals had the use of a total of 6,079 standard hospital beds and 233 intensive care beds. During the epidemic, 1,198 standard hospital beds and 233 intensive care beds were earmarked for COVID-19 patients (in the week when hospitals were under the greatest pressure). 

Some 3,428 positive cases were confirmed on 5 January 2021 and 2,164 a year ago, while a new record of 3,177 positive cases in this wave was reached this week.

Daily confirmed positive cases are followed by daily admissions of patients to hospitals. The number of patients admitted to hospitals is increasing and so are the admissions to intensive care units. 

In the week before last, hospitals admitted 288 patients and 474 were admitted this week. The number increased by 64 per cent. In the last week, 80 patients were admitted to intensive care, which is 51 per cent more than the week before.

Some 479 beds in regular wards and 150 intensive care beds are provided for COVID-19 patients in the country. Topolšica Hospital will be activated next week. As of 3 November, the number of beds will increase, i.e. to 590 standard beds and 159 intensive care beds.

The State Secretary emphasised that more than 100 doctors and over 250 nurses are currently needed just to treat the COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

He explained that the amended Order on temporary measures relating to the organisation and provision of healthcare services due to control of the COVID-19 infectious disease will be adopted today. Providers at all levels will ensure the implementation of all health services once the agreed capacities for COVID-19 patients are ensured. All urgent and rapid health services, oncology services, and health services for pregnant women, women giving birth, newborns and children will be provided.

The capacities of Slovenian healthcare are not limitless, warned Vindišar. Intensive care bed capacity of between 160 and 180 is at the point when the strictest measures will have to be taken.

Vindišar hopes that Slovenians will realise that the red lights are on and that the current approach to COVID-19 needs to change. People must get vaccinated and apply all other measures necessary to help make the healthcare system sustainable.

He repeated that no decision has yet been made regarding the lockdown. The extension of school holidays was not discussed and education proceeding in accordance with model B is envisaged.

The self-testing of vaccinated people is not anticipated, but an increased frequency of testing employees who do not meet the recovered or vaccinated condition is anticipated, including pupils, secondary school students and university students.

As a holiday weekend is ahead, the State Secretary asked the public to avoid mass gatherings, to socialise outdoors and wear masks indoors. Let us stay at home if possible. Isolate yourselves and get tested as soon as possible when the first signs of disease occur, i.e. nasal discharge, headache and feeling unwell. This is the only way to protect ourselves and our loved ones. With these small acts, each one of us can contribute greatly to controlling the spread of the COVID-19 disease, Vindišar concluded.