The healthcare system capacity has been strained to the utmost but the system is functioning, the director of the association of employers in the healthcare system, Drazen Jurkovic, said at a news conference in Cakovec on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday a delegation of the association visited hospitals in four northern Croatian cities — Varazdin, Cakovec, Koprivnica and Bjelovar — after which they held a news conference to inform the public of their findings.
Jurkovic said that the system was operating at full capacity and was functioning.
He admitted that the biggest challenge in the current coronavirus epidemic was how to organise the health system, adding that problems with drug suppliers had been settled in the short run and that the problem of unpaid overtime in the health sector remained to be solved.
The system is resilient, it can respond to all challenges, said Jurkovic.
The president of the association, Mladen Busic, praised medical professionals — physicians, nurses and medical technicians — as well as non-medical staff in the four hospitals for their extraordinary contribution to the fight against COVID-19.
“The healthcare system has not collapsed and will not collapse. We are dealing with this situation and will win and provide all the patients with the necessary care, both COVID-19 and other patients,” Busic said.
The head of the Cakovec hospital, Tomislav Novinscak, informed the delegation that currently, 110 COVID-19 patients were being treated in the hospital and that some of them would be transferred to a local hotel that has been repurposed to admit COVID-19 patients.
He added that the situation with available medical staff was stable.
In Varazdin, the local hospital is treating 257 persons diagnosed with COVID-19, and of them 24 are in intensive care wards. The head of that hospital, Nenad Kudelic, expects hospital capacity to be fully occupied until the end of this week, and that 40 more COVID-19 patients could be transferred to the hospital for medical rehabilitation in Varazdinske Toplice. More than 120 employees of the Varazdin hospital are out of work due to infection with COVID-19 or self-isolation.
Kudelic said that one could not say that the system was collapsing, however, it should be made clear that the current high number of COVID-19 patients required hospital and personnel capacities that would otherwise be used for the treatment of other diseases.
The head of the Koprivnica hospital, Mato Devcic, said that there were currently 82 COVID-19 patients in the institution, and eight of them were on ventilators. The hospital has allotted 110 beds for COVID-19 patients and a maximum 200 beds can be used for that purpose.
The system is not on its knees, it is adapting to the extraordinary circumstances, Devcic said.
In Bjelovar, the head of the hospital, Allouch Ali, said that 80 beds were made available for COVID-19 patients and that an additional 40 could be made available.
“The situation is under control,” he said.