Hospitals in Thessaloniki and around the country, are buckling under the weight of caring for so many desperately ill patients at once, as the second wave of the covid pandemic takes a toll.
Greece entered its second nationwide lockdown last week, in a bid to curb the spread of covid-19 and prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
As of Friday 13th of November, there is also a nationwide night curfew from 9pm-5am.
The worst-hit areas with the highest case numbers are in the regions of Thessaloniki and Attica.
Dr Vassilis Voutsas who works at the COVID intensive care unit at Thessaloniki’s Papanikolaou Hospital, told Reuters that “the hospital system is already at its limits.”
“My fear is that the number of patients will be so big that we won’t be able to treat them all,” he added.
Latest covid-19 numbers in Greece
Greece recorded 3,316 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour reporting period.
This raises the total number of cases to 66,637.
4,587 are considered to be related to travel from abroad and 17,773 are related to an already known case.
Three hundred and ten individuals are in ICU. Their median age is 65 years, and 88 of them are women. 82.9% have an underlying condition or are aged 70 years and above.
A total of 353 patients have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the pandemic in Greece.
The country’s pandemic death toll stands at 959. The median age of all was 79 years and 96.9% of the deceased had an underlying condition and/or age of 70 years or more.
Greek hospital staff demand hirings
On Thursday, dozens of hospital workers held protests at hospitals demanding more medical staff be hired as the country struggles to contain the second outbreak.
“Every humanly possible effort was made so that we can, in the intervening time between the first wave and where we are today, reinforce the ICUs with beds and personnel,” Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday during a Parliament debate. “Whatever was humanly possible … has been done and continues to be done.”
The Greek PM added that no matter how many ICUs a country has, “and obviously we prefer to have more rather than fewer, a health system cannot cope if we do not hit the problem at the start of the chain. The start of the chain is the uncontrolled spread of the virus mainly through crowding and contact with people we do not know.”
Mitsotakis also told parliament that a vaccine may be available in Greece as early as January. But both doctors were guardedly optimistic on the vaccines front.
“I believe “that the last thing our doctors, nurses and fellow citizens would like to hear is another pointless quarrel. It is up to us all to stand up to the circumstances and turn the process into a fruitful dialogue. The government will say what it has done, what it is going to do and will make honest self-criticism. And the opposition will participate with proposals,” he said.
“The coming days will be critical days and the political leadership, the parties and the citizens must take responsibility. What has been mediated since March until today is known, but let’s look at an overview, to see what the problems are and not to follow non-existent rumors and dramatized situations that aim at political benefits,” Mitsotakis continued.