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Head of advisory group: By getting vaccinated you help relieve the burden on healthcare staff

The press conference on the current situation regarding Covid-19 featured Mateja Logar, the head of the advisory group at the Ministry of Health, with government spokesperson Maja Bratuša first presenting the epidemiological situation in the country.

Maja Bratuša

Maja Bratuša | Author Ukom

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A total of 1,380 PCR tests and 7,144 rapid antigen tests were performed on 1 May. 209 new infections were confirmed with PCR tests, for a test positivity rate of 15.1%. According to the data published by the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) today, the 7-day infection average was 661 (659 yesterday, and 667 on Sunday). The occupancy of Covid-19 units in hospitals remains high and is not changing significantly - which is very worrying. A total of 608 patients are being treated today, of whom 147 are in intensive care. 28 patients were admitted to hospitals yesterday, and 30 a day earlier. 19 patients were discharged from hospital yesterday. 6 people died in hospitals yesterday.

The head of the expert advisory group Mateja Logar said that the growth in the number of infected over the week before was worrying. The proportion of positive PCR tests has started increasing again. This means that the virus still circulates in the population and that all existing anti-epidemic measures must continue to be observed. Only this way will we be able to continue with their gradual easing and the gradual normalisation of life. It is encouraging that as of 27 April the number of active infections is below ten thousand for the first time since 20 October 2020.

Numerous health organisations have started issuing recommendations regarding the wearing of masks by vaccinated persons, Logar added. Certain relaxations are also being announced for enclosed spaces, when vaccinated people associate in smaller numbers. Masks are expected to remain mandatory for all in large venues and at large events, which suggests that masks will stay among us for some time. Answering a journalist's question, she said that vaccinated persons not being required to wear masks could be talked about only when the vaccination rate becomes considerably higher.

Logar: Get vaccinated, as this way you also help the medical staff

As vaccination is precisely what enables the faster relaxation of measures, the head of the expert advisory group again called on everybody who has not yet decided to be vaccinated, and who meet all criteria, to do so. Supply of the vaccine will improve in the coming weeks. Those who already meet the criteria but have not been put on the vaccination list should contact their personal physicians, she advised. You can be called from the vaccination centre only when your personal physician puts you on the list. Reliable evidence about the efficacy of the vaccine is now also available in Slovenia, as it is becoming obvious that, having been vaccinated, the oldest people, who have been the most exposed in terms of severity of symptoms and death rate, do not contract the disease or contract it with milder symptoms, and do not die of Covid-19.

Standing behind the numbers on the occupancy of Covid-19 units are medical staff teams, Logar noted. Employees in healthcare have been working for more than half a year under a tremendous workload, without the opportunity for a true vacation or break from the job. The trend of occupancy of hospital beds is not good, and vaccination can help alleviate the workload on the staff employed in hospitals.

Provided that the vaccine is supplied at a sufficient rate and regularly, the desired vaccination rate of 60% of the adult population could be achieved by June. A new application, which is currently being tested, is expected to make vaccination more accessible and be organised in a more transparent manner. Logar also confirmed that, once the mentioned application is introduced, it is expected that there will be no more priority groups, and there will be no restrictions by age groups. Vaccination centres confirmed to Health Minister Janez Poklukar last week that their capacity was higher than currently utilised, Logar reiterated.

Responding to a journalist's question, the head of the expert advisory group confirmed that the group has already discussed certain restrictions related to organising large events.