PRAGUE (AP) – A record number of COVID-19 patients filling resuscitation units in the Czech Republic were transferred to southern Poland on Tuesday for the first time.
The 68-year-old woman was taken from a clinic in the town of Wosti Nad Orlitz in the Rasibords Pardubice district of Poland. Foreign Minister Thomas Petricek said another six patients from other regions would be transferred to Germany.
Pardubice was the first of 14 countries in the country to announce last week that resuscitation departments at its five regional hospitals were overcrowded with critically ill COVID-19 patients, “it could not do otherwise.” The Plzen region of western Czech Republic has followed suit, while elsewhere a number of private hospitals have had to transport their patients to clinics in the country.
“Working as a nurse is difficult at any time,” said Irina Spelinova, chief nurse in the Department of Neurosurgery at Pardubice Hospital, 100 km east of Prague.
“But it is much more difficult during an epidemic,” Spelinova said. In addition to the need to work in protective gear, the staff is “so busy that they do not have time to eat, drink or, sorry to say, go to the bathroom.”
The Spelinova ward was transformed into the COVID ward, a common practice adopted by many clinics across the country to provide treatment to those infected. But even those expanded capabilities have reached their limits.
Health Minister Ian Blatney has predicted that this week will be “the most critical” for struggling hospitals.
According to his ministry, 8,478 COVID-19 patients were due to be hospitalized on Monday. A record high of 1,789 was in the intensive care unit. According to University of Hopkins University, the average moving average of seven days of daily deaths has risen from 1.44 per 100,000 people on February 22 to 1.88 on Monday. That figure is the worst in the world
The country with a population of 10.7 million had more than 1.3 million confirmed cases with 22,147 deaths. It currently has the highest per capita infection rate in the EU, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
To overcome the wave of highly contagious coronavirus, the Czech Republic has stepped up its plans to transport dozens of patients to hospitals in Germany, Poland and Switzerland.
In the past, the three countries, along with Austria and Slovenia, have offered treatment in their hospitals.
The government also ordered students from other medical universities and high schools, as well as outpatient clinics, to provide medical care in hospitals.
They should help achieve the goal of adding 100 resuscitation beds to 570 oxygen-assisted beds, Blatney said.
Spelinova said the nurses had to deal with a high level of disaster.
“When more people are dying these days, it is very demanding for them,” he said.
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