The press conference on the current COVID-19 situation was attended by the COVID-19 hospital bed coordinator at the Ministry of Health, Dr Robert Carotta, Head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Fever Conditions, Dr Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, Medical Director of the Murska Sobota General Hospital, Dr Manuela Kuhar Makoter, and Director of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, Tjaša Žohar Čretnik.
Dr Robert Carotta, the COVID-19 hospital bed coordinator at the Ministry of Health, presented the current situation in hospitals due to the Omicron variant and the changes to the COVID-19 patient protocol. According to him, the COVID-19 epidemic is not easing and Slovenia is currently in the middle of an Omicron wave, with the number of cases rising sharply. The fourth wave hardly ended before the fifth one hit. COVID-19 hospital wards are filling up with asymptomatic patients. Yesterday, there were 515 COVID-19 patients and today, the number has gone up to 583. Since the beginning of the year, it has increased by more than 200. Fortunately, the number of patients in intensive care is falling and has decreased by 39 since 1 January. He stressed that the virus was different and that most patients experienced a milder course of the disease, but the dangers of the disease should not be disregarded, as it could also lead to a severe course of COVID-19.
Based on the number of Omicron infections, it is clear that we will require significant hospital capacities in the future, said the Head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Fever Conditions, Tatjana Lejko Zupanc. When faced with many infected patients in non-COVID-19 wards, we use the red zone system, which we have done already several times in the past. The patient treatment protocols in these wards are the same as in COVID-19 wards. She added that all patients must be cared for and that the purpose of the protocol was to ensure a safe and effective treatment for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Medical Director of the Murska Sobota General Hospital, Manuela Kuhar Makoter, said that the hospital was full of COVID-19 and other patients. From now on, patients will be admitted to specific wards according to a new protocol, namely based on their diagnosis. Among other things, all non-essential surgeries and non-essential treatment are being suspended, focusing only on those patients who are in urgent need of medical care. In the following days, they are expecting a large wave of COVID-19 patients.
Director of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, Tjaša Žohar Čretnik, explained that 64% of results were communicated within 24 hours. Laboratory reporting is still going very smoothly, with foreign laboratories providing assistance when needed. In a little over three weeks, Omicron has become the dominant variant. For the laboratories, the fifth wave has proved to be the most challenging.