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Coronavirus affects medics more and more in Latvia

The rise of COVID-19 cases in the country means that the virus has also been spreading among medics, Latvian Television reported December 20.

One doctor in Latvia has died from the consequences of the COVID-19 virus, and several are in the hospital. Doctors who are fighting for the lives of each patient agree that when colleagues – medics – are admitted to the hospital, it is particularly difficult.

The head of the Riga East Clinical University Hospital (RAKUS) Sepsis Clinic, Oļegs Šuba, shows in CT images how dramatic a medical worker's lungs have been affected. The medic is now in one of the ten intensive therapy beds, and several doctors continue to fight for her life.

Another doctor, who also had several other illnesses, has died after being infected with COVID-19.

Rinalds Muciņš, Chairman of Stradiņš Hospital, said that the three quarantine departments also include employees among patients. The hospital has 160 employees who are either ill or contact persons, and this is a noticeable gap in staff.

“We are also forced to take care of our colleagues who have fallen ill,” said Muciņš.

Where medics are infected is no longer possible to determine because the spread of the virus in Latvia is too extensive to reveal contacts. 

Once a week, all those in the hospital are checked through saliva tests. This makes it possible to detect virus carriers more quickly. Stocks of protective equipment are not missing and regularly replenished, but the medics themselves are exhausted. They are often burned out by the notion that COVID-19 is not real at all and has been invented by the media.

“We really don't have time to deal with all those fakes circulating in society,” Šuba said.

“We're getting more patients rapidly right now, they're tough, we have to deal with saving their lives. We are people too, we are tired too, we also want some support, we need energy somewhere. But seeing what is happening in social media, it doesn't strengthen us in fighting COVID infection.”

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