Spain’s health system braces for 2nd Covid wave

By Antonia Méndez Ardila

Madrid, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Spain’s coronavirus caseload has surged past 560,000 in recent weeks and, with hospital admissions on the up, the health system is braced for a second wave in which primary care will act as a dam to prevent ICUs and wards from becoming overwhelmed like they were earlier in the year.

Despite the rise in cases, the Spanish health ministry says the number of positive tests is slowing and the fatality rate remains low, contrary to the patterns observed between March and May.

“I believe there are reasons enough to think that what we lived through in March will not happen again,” Dr. Antonio Román, a director at the Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, told Efe.

Back in March, 700 of the 1,000 beds in the Vall d’Hebron hospital were occupied by Covid-19 patients, while in September that figure was around 40.

This level permits a balanced ratio of admissions and discharges and does not impede the hospital’s primary functions, explained Román.

The number of Covid-19 hospital admissions has been increasing over recent weeks in Spain and now accounts for 7.5 percent of all patients, compared to four percent just 20 days ago, he said.

Román added that ICU occupancy provided a better benchmark when analysing the health risk of the pandemic.

“The fundamental problem is the capacity of our ICUs, which is what politicians focus on.”

According to the latest data from the health minister, there are 8,658 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the country, 1,181 of those are in ICU.

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