Czech hospitals are at brink of capacity, says Health Ministry

There are nearly 6,000 COVID-19 patients in Czech hospitals, including 1,000 in intensive care units.


Written by ČTK Published on 06.02.2021 09:31:00 (updated on 06.02.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech hospitals are at the brink of their capacity, Deputy Health Minister Vladimír Černý wrote in a press release on Friday. Beds at most of them are fully occupied, though there are differences between individual regions, he added.

The Karlovy Vary Region has requested Germany's help with taking in COVID-19 patients, but the neighboring state can only admit a limited number of patients and only those who do not have the British coronavirus mutation, Černý said.

As of this morning, there are 5,756 COVID-19 patients in Czech hospitals, including 1,018 in intensive care units.

Among individual regions, hospital capacities are lowest in Prague and the Karlovy Vary (west Bohemia) and Hradec Králové (east Bohemia) regions.

"The ability of Czech hospitals to accept patients has been preserved at the cost of a steep reduction in elective care," Černý wrote.

Some hospitals have asked for permission to resume elective care, but Health Minister Jan Blatný said on Wednesday that the intensive care national coordinator looks at available capacity across all of the country's hospitals in order to organize transfers of patients where needed.

Patients have been transferred from the most overcrowded hospitals elsewhere by ambulance and also by air medical services for longer distances.

The Karlovy Vary Region has criticized the Health Ministry for not allowing the transport of local patients to nearby hospitals in Germany. Today, the ministry staged the transfer of 25 patients from regional hospitals in Cheb and Sokolov to hospitals in the neighboring Plzeň Region and also to Prague and Central Bohemia.

Černý said that Germany can offer only a limited number of beds for patients from the Czech Republic.

"To see the an increase in Czech hospital bed capacity, essentially hundreds of patients would have to be placed in Germany. In addition, Germany will not accept any patients with the [British] virus mutation," Černý added.

Blatný said one third of the confirmed Czech cases of the British mutation are people from border regions commuting between the Czech Republic and Germany. He said the utmost must be done so that people do not spread the infection everywhere.

Blatný did not rule out government measures that would deal with the restriction of people’s free movement between individual Czech regions, especially given that there were big differences in the numbers of cases among regions.

He said people were still going to the mountains in the recent weeks even though ski lifts are not in operation.

If the state of emergency is not extended further, the epidemic will likely get out of control in the Czech Republic, Blatný said.

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