The rising number of coronavirus cases among frontline healthcare workers is a challenge that could affect the health system’s capacity to contain the pandemic. “We don’t share the optimism that everything is ready,” said Dagmar Žitníková of the Trade Union of Health and Social Care. Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.

Czech Rep., Sep 24 (BD) – The new wave of the coronavirus in the Czech Republic has hit frontline healthcare workers. Statistics published on Sunday by the Czech Medical Chamber showed a sharp increase in the number of healthcare workers who have been infected.

Speaking to Seznam News, Dagmar Žitníková, Chairwoman of the Trade Union of Health and Social Care, expressed concern at the figures. “We may have twin beds, but we will not have staff. There will be no one to take care of the patients in those beds,” she said. 

According to a report by the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, only four doctors had been infected with the coronavirus by August 20th, but the number has risen to 259 within one month. The number of nurses who have also contracted the virus has risen from 3 to 433 in the same period, and 416 other health workers are also infected. One doctor, one nurse and two other healthcare staff have died from the virus, according to the Czech Medical Chamber.

According to Žitníková, the risk of coronavirus transmission among frontline healthcare workers should be monitored even more than for other professions. Ministry of Health procedures in place from March did not give healthcare workers enough time to quarantine, sending them back to work too soon after contact with coronavirus patients. Žitníková pointed out that the Czech Republic had a shortage of healthcare workers even before the pandemic, and that such procedures could further worsen the situation.

In the Czech Republic, there are now no regions categorised “white” per the Ministry of Health coronavirus traffic light system. This means that there are no regions with a negligible or no risk of transmission of the virus. Last week saw a record increase in the number of coronavirus infections. Žitníková stated that it is imperative to flatten the curve of the infection since more increases will be bad.

“We don’t share the optimism that everything is ready. In light of the infections among healthcare professionals and the personnel situation under normal circumstances, we are concerned about the lack of staff as the most critical point in the treatment of patients with Covid-19,” said Žitníková.

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