The Basque Country asks its hospitals to increase the number of ICU beds available in anticipation of more admissions due to covid | Society

The Basque Country begins to look with concern at the expansion of the coronavirus and the increase in income both in the plant and in critical care units. The Health department has informed its six hospitals to begin opening more ICU beds due to the growth in cases. There are currently 37 patients with covid and, if it reaches 50 in the entire community, there would be problems. The Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, recalled this Thursday that, if that number of ICU beds occupied by covid patients is reached, of the total 243 that are offered at this time -214 are already occupied with people with covid and other pathologies -, they would have “to think about much stricter measures.” The Basque Country has registered 919 new covid positives in the last day and has added four critics, the majority in Gipuzkoa. A situation that the counselor has described as “worrying”. “Infections continue to rise”, which “means the increased risk of occupancy of hospital beds and ICUs.” Sagardui recalled that the Basque system has reached five times the capacity of UCI beds in the first waves, but later he has warned, in Radio Popular-Herri Irratia, which “is not convenient.”

The profile of the new cases that arrive at the ICU is that of people over 70 years of age who had not received the third dose, hence the Basque Country wants to accelerate the extra injections to people over 60 and 70 years old, without waiting six months since the last puncture indicated by the pharmaceutical companies and the Public Health commission. It is about 440,000 Basques who were vaccinated in spring and summer and who have not yet received the booster.

The Basque Government counselor, who this Wednesday appealed to the Supreme Court the ruling of the Superior Court that denies them the possibility of demanding the covid passport at nightlife and in restaurants with more than 50 diners, has insisted that the virus “continues to be among us ”, for which he has asked the population that, in addition to“ being vaccinated without a doubt ”, we must continue to maintain preventive measures to avoid contagion. Even more so in a context of parties like the one to come: “The number of celebrations in which there are large numbers of people is increasing and relaxation behaviors are also increasing.”

Faced with the possibility that the sixth wave could increase personnel needs, Sagardui has specified that resources are going to be accommodated to situations and needs. In the 4,400 restrooms there are “very diverse profiles”, so that in some cases it may be “required to have them again” and in others not. In primary care “what is needed are family and community medicine doctors” or some nursing specialties. “If they are [en esos perfiles], we are going to hire them for their function. It is an exercise of responsibility for the use of public money ”, he remarked. He also explained that in primary care attendance was already beginning to increase and that this wave “is a step backwards”.

The rest of the communities, waiting

The health ministries of the rest of the national territory are also attentive to the increase in diagnoses. At the beginning of the pandemic, contingency plans were drawn up to multiply hospital capacity if necessary. Most of them are still in force or, if not, the governments are open to reactivate them. In Andalusia, for example, a Health spokesman explains that the strategy for possible spikes in hospitalizations is still in force, but inoperative. It is the same scenario as in Murcia, whose plan allows tripling ICU beds, or in Madrid, which has an “elasticity plan” to expand or reduce beds. The Balearic Islands operate with a contingency plan since April 2020, which is modulated according to the incidence of the virus, and in the Canary Islands or the Valencian Community each hospital has its own strategy to adapt the care capacity.

With information from Eva Saiz, Juan Navarro, Silvia R. Pontevedra, María Fabra, Amaia Otazu, Virginia Vadillo, Lucía Bohórquez, Guillermo Vega, Isabel Valdés and Maria Fabra.

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