Concerns grow as Czechia grapples with growing Covid cases

Doctors and the government continue to encourage people to get vaccinated and urge caution if infected with the virus.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 22.11.2023 10:15:00 (updated on 22.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Health officials in the Czech Republic report a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations across several hospitals in the country, according to a report from Czech media outlet Seznam Zprávy

Nationwide statistics from the Czech Ministry of Health show that the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections (many of which are the Omicron XBB.1.5 variant) is growing, with 2,412 new cases on Monday compared to 1,805 a week earlier. 

However, Chairman of the Czech Vaccinology Society Roman Chlíbek believes the actual number of cases may be four to five times higher than official figures due to limited testing.

Covid-19 by the numbers

  • Existing cases: 5,356 (Monday, Oct. 23) vs. 8,900 (Monday, Nov. 20)
  • Hospitalizations: 447 (Monday, Oct. 23) vs. 586 (Monday, Nov. 20)
  • Czechia’s full vaccination rate (at least two doses) covers 65 percent of the population
  • Source: Ministry of Health

Hospitals seeing an increase

At Hradec Králové Faculty Hospital, for example, daily Covid-19 admissions have increased to over 40 patients currently, from around 25 patients admitted per day last month. The hospital is now treating four patients in intensive care, up from just one patient in October. Additionally, staffing shortages have occurred at times due to workers being sick themselves or needing to stay home with infected children.

Other hospitals in the Czech Republic are witnessing similar upticks. Brno University Hospital at St. Anna reported nine hospitalized Covid-19 patients in the past few days, including two in serious condition, and one requiring ventilation. This is an increase from five patients last Friday and no admissions in August.

A dispute over doctors’ pay and new rules concerning overtime work – with hundreds of doctors nationwide refusing to sign up to work additional hours from December – could make hospitals’ treatment of Covid-19-infected patients much harder.

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Emphasis on prevention

The Czech Health Ministry has encouraged people to get vaccinated against the virus, which would help in fighting the Omicron XBB.1.5 variant. Doctors also advise an annual Covid-19 booster shot, particularly for high-risk groups like seniors, immunocompromised individuals, and those with chronic conditions.

There is currently no obligation to self-isolate with a positive Covid-19 diagnosis in Czechia – healthcare workers may need to quarantine, though. 

Despite the disease generally causing milder symptoms compared to 2020 or 2021, health professionals continue stressing the importance of preventative measures. Czech Health Minister Vlastimil Válek has encouraged the public to wear masks if they suspect they are infected with the virus and to practice diligent hand hygiene.

Officials continue monitoring the situation for signs of acceleration but presently describe rises as slow and steady rather than sharp. Ongoing vigilance and mitigation strategies remain crucial to protecting community health.

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