Latvian healthcare is facing a very tough month, says doctor

Due to the prevalence of Covid-19, the next month will be very tough for the health system and the number of hospitalized patients will continue to increase, said Artūrs Šilovs, head of the Latvian Association of Junior Doctors, in an interview to Latvian Radio October 19.

"The next two-three weeks, probably a month, will be very, very tough for health care,” Šilovs said. He explained that on a daily basis, approximately 10% of the number of infections detected 7-8 days ago end up in hospitals.

“If more than two thousand people are infected one day, that means that after seven days, on average, more than 200 people will be in hospitals. It is an abnormal burden, given the fill of beds right now. Unfortunately, it has been very pessimistic for several weeks,” the medic said.

He drew attention to the fact that experts had warned the government about a possible flare-up of the situation earlier in the summer, then again in August, but there were already “calls of desperation” in September.

“The limit is already where, if there are not enough, for example, intensive unit beds, we will start to talk about sorting,” the doctor said. He added that the health minister, by order, has yet to approve guidelines and recommendations on how patients are sorted by their condition.

At present, when additional restrictions are planned, the main objective is to reduce the incidence of Covid-19 in four weeks. At the same time, it cannot be expected that the problem with Covid-19 will no longer be there after this time, said Shilov, explaining that it needs 5-6 weeks to build immune protection after vaccination.

“It was very disappointing to hear yesterday that the government was placing all responsibility [on] the unaccountable part of society. But it is naive to think that the government did not know that there was this part that does not want to take responsibility. That means the government was all the more reluctant to take responsibility and make tough decisions. Unfortunately, the time of the pandemic showed that the principle of the whip works more for our residents,” Šilovs said.

Nor should the situation be expected to improve quickly:

“We should not be surprised to see an increase in the number of infected people in the next two weeks, because there are currently data from people who were infected seven, ten days ago. That means we'll see in two weeks how many infected people there are today. So it shouldn't be surprising and one shouldn't say that the “lockdown” doesn't work. Then those digits should go down. But the number of hospitalizations will increase throughout the month.”

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