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Covid-19 epidemic slows in Czechia, but hospitals are still dangerously stretched

The capacity of hospital beds is still strained

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Czech News Agency, Anna Brzybohatá

The coronavirus epidemic in the Czech Republic continues to slow down, with laboratories in the country detecting 5,443 infected on Saturday, about 1,500 less than a week ago. The reproduction number also dropped again, which is now at its lowest level in two months, however, the capacity of hospital beds is still strained.

The reproduction number indicating the average number of other people infected by one person with a positive test dropped from 0.87 to 0.85. If the reproductive number was higher than one, it would mean that the epidemic is accelerating again.

Despite the declines, the capacity of hospitals remains almost exhausted, but even in this case, the situation is slowly improving. As of Saturday, there were 8,168 patients positive with coronavirus in hospitals, a decrease of almost 600 hospitalized compared to Friday. At the beginning of the week, there were more than 9,400 Covid-19 patients in hospitals, however, the number of people with a severe condition is declining much slower. There were 1,970 on Saturday compared to 2,054 at the beginning of last week.

By Sunday morning, 12 percent of the beds in the ICU wards in Czech hospitals were vacant, and 124 were intended for Covid-19 patients. The worst situation is in the Karlovy Vary region, where there are three beds available in these wards, one of which is for patients with coronavirus. There are 24 percent free standard oxygen beds in the Czech Republic, which means 907 free places in Covid-19 wards.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic last year, 1.5 million people in the Czech Republic have been infected with coronavirus. According to the ministry, there should currently be approximately 232,400 infected people in the country, most of them with a mild course of the disease.

In a week-on-week comparison, the daily increments of newly infected people have been declining since Tuesday. This was particularly pronounced on Friday when the difference was about 5,300 cases. Since the beginning of this week, there have been 62,435 newly diagnosed coronavirus patients in the Czech Republic.

The PES epidemic risk index is at 68 points the second day and has remained in the fourth of five alert levels for almost two weeks. In addition to the reproductive number, the other three indicators for calculating the score also improved — the average number of infected per hundred thousand inhabitants in two weeks, the fortnightly average of infected among seniors, and the proportion of hospitalized who were diagnosed with Covid-19 after their arrival in the hospital.

 

Today at noon, bells across the Czech Republic rang and the country paid homage with a minute of silence to almost 25,000 victims of the pandemic. A group of activists also painted 25,000 crosses on the Old Town Square to remember the victims and to point out the alleged government’s failure in responding to the crisis.

Although the lockdown was to last three weeks, the pandemic’s decline is only gradual. The current measures, therefore, remain in place and the government will ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency once again, this time until April 11 at least.

Title image: Health care workers assist COVID-19 patient during a transport from an overrun hospital in Ceska Lipa, Czech Republic, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)