On Monday, Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY) announced that 549 patients are currently intubated after suffering with the coronavirus in Greece, and 84 people with the virus had passed away in the past 24-hour-period.
A total of 1,388 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in Greece on Monday.
Greek doctors and health officials have long been concerned about the ability of Greece’s hospitals to handle the rising number of intubated patients, who reached a record 549 on Monday.
In a statement on Monday, Vana Papaevangelou, Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and member of the special coronavirus committee, warned that Greece’s national health system is currently under immense strain.
Papaevangelou stated that ICUs have reached 86% capacity nationwide. In Attica, home to the capital city of Athens, ICUs are functioning at 81% capacity.
In Thessaloniki, where the virus has spread rapidly, they are almost completely full at 99% capacity.
In an attempt to avoid a collapse of the health system, the state has taken over two private hospitals and an Army field hospital to house patients suffering from the virus in Thessaloniki.
Hospitals in Thessaloniki have been inundated with Covid patients despite the lockdown that has been in place there since early November — even before the measure was applied nationwide.
While the country-wide lockdown was set to end on the last day of November, many predict that it will be extended due to the current state of Greece’s health system.
A total of 4,400 patients with the coronavirus are currently being treated in hospitals around Greece.
Papaevangelou noted that, since the lockdown was put in place, there has indeed been a degree of stabilization in terms of daily Covid cases recorded in Greece.
Stabilization Rate “Not what we expected”
While the number of cases has stabilized, Papaevangelou stated that it has unfortunately “not been at the rate that we expected.” She went on to argue that the figures can only be explained by a lax attitude toward the antivirus measures in a significant portion of the Greek population.
The majority of cases recorded in Greece on Monday were diagnosed in the areas surrounding Greece’s two largest urban centers, Athens and Thessaloniki. A total of 300 cases were recorded in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, and 252 in Attica, home to the capital city of Athens.
Numbers are currently rising in the rest of the country, with 88 new cases diagnosed in Pella and 65 in Imathia, both located in northern Greece.
Number of active infections declining
The number of new coronavirus diagnoses appears to be dropping in Europe, but the number of fatalities remains high, doctor Gkikas Magiorkinis said during the live briefing.
Magiorkinis, member of the Health ministry’s experts committee on the novel coronavirus, said that in Greece as well, active infections appear to be dropping. In addition, the rate of tests coming out positive also appears to be dropping by around 50 percent, relative to last Monday.
“This drop is particularly notable in large urban centers — the Attica and Thessaloniki regions — which suggests there is a margin to improve compliance with restriction measures in the rest of Greece,” he said.
The doctor warned, however, that the viral load is “extremely heavy in northern Greece, particularly Thessaloniki,” and in other northern cities, as well as Thessaly, in central Greece.
“Last week, Attica showed clear signs of small improvement, and Thessaloniki did as well, but it’s too early to reach safe conclusions,” Magiorkinis said, adding that the situation remains critical and observing measures is necessary for the lifting of the lockdown, “whenever that happens.”