ZAGREB, Oct 19 (Hina) – Health Minister Vili Beros said on Monday that due to coronavirus penetrating the health system and a rising number of infected persons, intensive care capacities would be increased while other necessary services would be reduced in some hospitals.
“The health system will be adapted to the new circumstances,” he said.
“Unlike in the spring, we will do everything so that a health lockdown does not occur and that services are provided to everyone, not just covid-positive patients,” Minister Beros said after a meeting was convened with hospital directors to discuss strategies and hospital capacities in the wake of a surge of coronavirus infections.
Reducing overhead services in hospitals will not be in the form of a general recommendation, nor a trend, he added.
He is convinced that Croatia has sufficient hospital beds even in the worst-case scenario. At the moment hospitals have more than 20,000 beds at their disposal with 14,460 acute care beds.
“The thing that may limit providing certain health care to be a relative shortage of medical personnel. Those (healthcare) staffers who have recovered from COVID-19 will form the basis of providing health care because they are protected with anti-bodies and at the moment there is more than 1,200 of them,” said Beros.
Additional capacities in preparation
Instructions were issued to hospital directors to increase the number of beds in primary intensive care – respiratory units and that health institutions enhance their isolation capacities in emergency wards in order to be able to cater for an increased number of patients.
Talks are underway with local governments for the formation of secondary centres to take in COVID patients in certain specialised hospitals similar to what is being done with the hospitals in Biograd, Crikvenica and Topusko. There are a sufficient number of these centres with a total capacity of about 3,000 beds.
An agreement has been reached with primary care physicians to assist epidemiologists in registering and finding contacts for their patients and it has been concluded that speedy antigen tests are insufficiently sensitive in diagnosing coronavirus and PCR tests need to be taken, according to the minister.
The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health Krunoslav Capak said that 27 laboratories around Croatia regularly conduct covid diagnostics and at the moment they are faced with a shortage of reagents and consumable material.