The soaring pace of the coronavirus epidemic in Catalonia is noticeable for days in hospitals and now, especially, in its Intensive Care Units (ICU). The increase in income requiring a critical bed has been 50% in just one week.
The increase in income from COVID-19 sets off alarms in Catalan hospitals: “The situation is very tense”
While waiting for the restrictive measures of social activity to help curb the curve – this Friday marks a week since bars and restaurants were closed – the number of infections continues to climb daily. In the last 24 hours, the Department of Health has reported 5,403 new cases and 21 deaths from this disease.
The regrowth rate continues to skyrocket –it has gone from 566.92 to 635.71 points in one day– and the virus reproduction rate, the indicator that usually anticipates the evolution of the epidemic, is not favorable either. The RT is 1.46, far from the 1 which indicates that the transmission may be under control.
In healthcare, the pressure is increasing on all fronts. The number of coronavirus patients admitted to the hospital is now 1,698 and those in the ICU, 296. Hence, hospitals, especially those in the most affected areas, have set off alarms and begun to advance phases of their contingency plans to open new devices to attend COVID-19 and reschedule non-urgent activity. At this time, more than 80% of intensive care beds are already occupied and, of the total, about 40% is due to the coronavirus.
As of October 19, those admitted to the ICU for coronavirus in the last seven days were 179, while a week before, they were 119. A growth of 50%. Regarding conventional beds, the increase has been 42%, going from 769 to 1,094.
Curfew is not ruled out
The Minister of Health, Alba Vergés, has not ruled out the curfew to stop contagions, but has pointed out that if they applied it they would do so without a state of alarm. In statements to TV3, he has said that if they believe the measure is necessary, they could follow the path of the Valencian Community, which is preparing a decree to apply it on its own.
Vergés added that Catalonia was endowed with a decree law that allows “to be able to take the necessary measures”, also in terms of the limitation of mobility, and that what is necessary is a judicial authorization. Likewise, he pointed out that the impact of the measures of a week ago will now be analyzed and has made a call to contain mobility this weekend to avoid more restrictions.
“We will limit mobility, a curfew or whatever, without ruling it out when we deem it necessary,” he said. He has also defended that the decisions have to come from the public health authorities “and not from an inter-territorial meeting where it is said that it should be the same for everyone, and without clarifying the legal form.” The councilor has also pointed out that this curfew may or may not coexist with the closure of bars and restaurants: “I would not link one thing with the other and we will see what may happen.”