The island’s state health services are ready to face a larger influx of COVID-19 admissions in general wards and Intensive care Units, said Christis Loizides, Chief Executive Officer of State Health Services Organisation of Cyprus.
He told CNA that there is a specific action plan to increase the number of beds and this is re-evaluated on a daily basis, according to needs.
He said according to the specific plan, there has been an increase in beds in general wards from 300 to 400 as well as 65 more beds in ICUs and will be adjusted on a daily basis.
Loizides said OKYPY has a designated COVID group made of 20 officers who include doctors, nursing and administrative staff from all the organisation’s hospitals which is in constant communication and coordinates efforts on a 24hour basis to handle the increasing number of admissions.
Regarding the high number of cases and given the likelihood that they might possibly be translated to admissions in the very near future, the OKYPY executive said that there is a coordinator who monitors where the cases come from, which ones need to be examined by hospitals and accordingly decides if they need to be admitted or not.
Asked what will happen if the situation gets out of hand, Loizides said that there is a plan to arrange 400 beds in general wards and 65 in ICUs and that the organisation has embarked on a cooperation with private hospitals.
At the same time, he said that staff is being recruited, where necessary.
"Coordination is being done by the Ministry of Health, so that our hospitals can be relieved, patients can be referred to the private sector and we can save staff who will be involved in the fight against the pandemic," he said.
Loizides said hospitals have treated more than three thousand patients diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Today, there are 291 people in COVID-19 wards of which 33 are on ventilators, six in ICU and not intubated and 32 in increased care units.
We aim to provide the best possible care, even under the difficult conditions that we are going through, the Chief Executive Officer of the State Health Services Organisation of Cyprus said.
In addition, the necessary infrastructure is in place while the staff is constantly undergoing training and modern equipment has been acquired.
However, he noted that "OKYPY`s actions are not enough; we need the support of all competent bodies and people complying with measures".
Loizides said the treatment of COVID patients remains the state health services’ responsibility. During the latest meeting with the Pancyprian Association of Private hospitals, it was decided that the patients referred to the private sector will be mainly pathology cases in an effort to free beds and save staff that can be utilised in the fight against the pandemic.
He said the OKYPY hospitals have modern equipment and are constantly renewed. What needs to be replaced, he added, is the software and computers.
Asked if there are shortages of consumables due to the current conditions, he said that despite the increased needs due to the pandemic the organisation has taken all necessary measures for hospitals to meet demands for consumables (masks, aprons, etc) as well as pharmaceuticals and it continually revises needs making orders on time.
Loizides said that numbers indicate that people continue to visit the emergency rooms of state hospitals while non-emergency operations have completed ceased.
Currently, he said OKYPY treats around one thousand people of which 250-270 are COVID cases.