Health care system under pressure with numbers of infected personnel doubling every 10 days

Photo: ČTK/Ondřej Deml

Nearly 5,000 health care staff in the Czech Republic are currently infected with COVID-19 and the number is doubling every ten days. According to the head of the Czech Medical Chamber Milan Kubek, this could break the state’s health care system within a month if the trend is not reversed.

The amount of people who have so far died from the COVID-19 coronavirus remains relatively low in the Czech Republic when compared to many other states. However, many experts are warning that once a country’s health care system is overburdened casualties will start mounting quickly.

This is currently a concern in the Czech Republic, where it is not just the reserve of hospital beds that is being depleted, but the amount of medical staff itself. A total of 4,917 doctors, nurses and hospital workers are currently fighting the coronavirus, with numbers rising by the hundred daily.

The chairman of the Czech Medical Chamber, Doctor Milan Kubek, told Czech Radio’s Martin Štorkán that the most afflicted region in the country is the capital.

Milan Kubek,  photo: Šárka Ševčíková / Czech Radio

“In Prague there are 1,184 infected medical personnel, of which 328 are doctors. It should be said that Prague is more robust in withstanding this problem. Its health facilities are also taking care of a large portion of patients from the Central Bohemian Region and several Prague hospitals have extend their service to the wider country.

“However, what makes Prague stand out is the amount of infected doctors, which is considerably higher than in any other region.”

The second most affected of the country’s 14 regions is Central Bohemia, where the infection number lies at 450 medical personnel. The Moravian-Silesian region is also not faring well according to the most recent official data, with 18 percent of its medical staff currently infected.

To prevent the Czech health care system from becoming overburdened, the government has called up 17,000 university students to work either as medical personnel, or at testing stations. This is a substantial number, but Dr. Kubek warns that the current trend of the epidemic is exponential.

“What is most disquieting is the current trend by which the number of infected health care workers doubles every ten days. This is also the case when it comes to those that are hospitalised and the number of dead.

“This is exponential growth. If the situation is not improved we will have 8,000 health care workers infected in the next 10 days, 16,000 in 20 days and 32,000 in a month, which would lay the health system on its back.”

According to Dr Kubek, the government was at least three weeks too slow to adopt coronavirus countermeasures. A mistake that will cost the lives of hundreds of people and tens of billions in the economy, he says.

Authors: Thomas McEnchroe , Martin Štorkán
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