Experts fear healthcare staff shortage as more than 13,000 healthcare works have COVID-19

A growing number of healthcare workers are testing positive for COVID-19.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 27.10.2020 10:01 (updated on 27.10.2020)

More than 13,000 healthcare works across the Czech Republic are currently infected with COVID-19, Czech Medical Chamber (CLK) President Milan Kubek told the public Czech Radio Radiozurnal station.

Right now, 2,600 doctors, 6,000 nurses and 4,500 other healthcare workers are infected. More than 1,000 healthcare workers became infected in the past week alone, a fast-rising number. In contrast, in early October, only 600 doctors, 1,000 nurses and 900 other healthcare staff were infected with the virus.

Experts warn that the country may soon see a shortage of medical staff as well as a shortage of beds for COVID-19 patients who need intensive care.

"We do not count the quarantined workers since the healthcare staff in quarantine have been going to work normally for some time already. Roughly 1,000 health workers fall ill with COVID-19 a day," Kubek said.

According to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) data, there are 50,000 doctors and 117,000 other healthcare workers in the Czech Republic; the country has a population of over 10.6 million.

Vladimir Cerny, the national coordinator of intensive care, said the increasing number of infected medical workers has considerably influenced the system's capacity. The medical staff now face an extreme burden.

"In some regions, the personnel capacities are close to exhausted and essential changes in organising healthcare are needed," the Health Ministry quoted Cerny as saying.

He said, nevertheless, that for the time being, no region has reported any impact the situation would have on the quality of medical treatment. The bed and equipment capacities are sufficient for now, according to Cerny.

Due to the worsened epidemiological situation in the country and fears of exhausted capacities of the health system, the government agreed last week with a 90-day stay of 300 military medical staff from the EU and NATO states who would help Czechia curb the epidemic.

In addition, students of medicine faculties and other medical schools are helping in hospitals.

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So far, 25 doctors from abroad have reacted to Kubek's appeal and offered to help treat patients in the Czech Republic.

"Those are mostly the doctors who have experience with treating COVID-19 patients in a severe condition," Kubek said.

According to the Health Ministry's latest data, there are more than 158,000 people infected with the virus in the country now. Most of them have a mild course of the disease or no symptoms at all, but the numbers of the hospitalised with the novel coronavirus and deaths have been rising steeply.

On Saturday, 5,345 patients with COVID-19 were in hospital. That's 50 percent more than a week ago. The number of those in a serious condition have increased by more than one-third in a week to more than 800 patients.