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Pressure on triage centers and kovid hospitals

The number of examinations in admission and triage centers and care in covid hospitals in Serbia is slowly starting to grow, which speaks in favor of the fact that omicron corona strain does not cause a mild clinical picture in all infected people. An additional problem is the growing number of infected health workers, so those who are currently working are under great pressure to make additional efforts and take care of all patients who need medical help.

According to Dr. Ljiljana Timotijevic, director of the Institute for Lung Diseases and Tuberculosis in Belgrade, an institution that has once again become a reception and triage center for those infected with corona, the number of patients has increased significantly. In just one day, the number of examinations increased from 180 to 290.

– We sent a lot of them to the hospital for treatment. We already have a number of more difficult and complicated cases. Patients who were previously in the Kovid clinic come to us. Doctors in these clinics assess whether a patient is a difficult case, and if they cannot help, they send him to us for an additional examination. We send patients to hospitals who need hospitalization. When patients come to us, they must have a positive test for kovid, whether it is an antigen or PCR test, and a referral from the kovid clinic. We are doing a complete diagnosis of the patients and it is desirable that they come to us with a blood test and an X-ray of the lungs. But, even if they come without those analyzes, we will do all that for them – Dr. Timotijevic emphasizes for “Politika”.

She notes that young people still, fortunately, have a lighter clinical picture of the crown, and that middle-aged and older people who have associated diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, are sent to hospitals…

– There are many young unvaccinated people who are asking for help. Within five or six days, they are followed by their parents or older family members to whom they transmitted the virus. Everything goes round and round. People have to react and come to the doctor immediately if they have a fever that they cannot bring down for days with the help of medication. It’s an alarm. The clinical picture is milder if someone has a scratch in the throat and secretion from the nose. Kovid is a systemic disease and we never know which organ will attack. It attacks the blood vessels of all organs and tissues. That is why we send those people for whom we estimate that they cannot be treated on an outpatient basis to the hospital. These are people with pneumonia and a drop in oxygen levels. They need oxygen support. We expect even greater growth in the number of people infected with the crown – the director of the institute points out.

– Omicron strain is like that – it is quickly transmitted and its incubation time is shorter. However, the rule is that vaccinated people against kovid have milder symptoms, the disease lasts shorter and their recovery is faster. Immunized people also have less postcovid problems. That is why we still recommend the citizens to receive the vaccine against kovid as soon as possible. When unvaccinated people come for an examination, they tell us that they would surely have received the vaccine “if they had known that the virus really existed and that it was such a serious disease”. They mostly promise us that they will be vaccinated when they recover. But, there are also those who, despite the diagnosis of kovid, still do not believe in this disease – adds Dr. Ljiljana Timotijevic and says that there are no crowds and long queues for examinations.

The hospital in Batajnica is starting to fill up these days. Professor Dr. Tatjana Adžić Vukičević, the director of this institution, says for our paper that they had 129 patient admissions in three days, and that their staff was decimated due to coronary heart disease.

– I come in different ways to enable the normal operation of the hospital. I can’t say exactly who now ends up in hospital treatment the most, because we have older and younger patients, pregnant women and mothers-in-law… In just one day, we received 75 patients. We used to have almost all unvaccinated patients in the hospital, and now there are those who have been immunized. This is because omicron breaks through immunity. It is almost impossible to avoid infection – emphasizes Professor Adzic Vukicevic.

At the same time, our interlocutor appeals to our people to reduce contacts to the minimum as much as possible in order to preserve themselves in this wave of the crown, which is growing galloping. She thinks that it is good that mass celebrations were not organized for the New Year’s Eve, and warns that the upcoming great glory of St. John should be celebrated in the family circle, without large gatherings.

– This explosion of the number of patients is actually the tail of the consequences of large gatherings and parties for the New Year’s holidays. There are also a lot of sick children, so I don’t think it’s wise for schools to return to normal. Children transmit the virus to the elderly, who then get a more severe clinical picture. There is almost no person among us, health workers, who does not have a sore throat and runny nose or shiver. Fortunately, many do not have a fever and have decided to work and take care of people with kovid, because if they stayed at home because of these mild symptoms, there would be no one to treat people. As of Monday, 28 people (17 doctors and 11 nurses) had to go on sick leave due to the crown in our hospital in Batajnica, and about 100 employees at the University Clinical Center of Serbia fell ill. Not to mention the exhaustion of people… We expect that 20 nurses from Kosmet will come to our aid – says Dr. Adžić Vukičević.

The number of hospitalizations is growing in other countries as well. In the United States, it reached a new record of about 141,000 patients who were hospitalized for covid. In just three weeks since the omicron strain of the virus began to dominate, the number of hospitalized has doubled. In some U.S. states, hospitals are overcrowded, and 40 clinics have had to postpone surgeries and examinations of invisible patients. Many services are expected to have problems with the workforce due to the large number of patients, and empty shelves can already be seen in some stores.

The World Health Organization has warned that by the end of February, half of Europeans will receive the crown because of omicron, which has become dominant on the Old Continent as well.

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