Barcelona ICU hospital staff struggle to cope with fifth wave

by admin
fifth wave

BARCELONA – As Spain endures a fresh surge of coronavirus patients due to the fifth wave, Catalonia has been particularly hard hit.

In Catalonia, just under half (48.4%) of ICU beds are occupied by coronavirus patients.  Whereas the national average is around 20%.

More ICU beds

The ICU at Hospital del Mar in Barcelona is straining under the pressure of the number of new patients. Ten new intensive care beds have been added to the hospital. And as such, they are now able to accommodate thirty patients in intensive care. However, all beds are full. Furthermore, the majority of these patients are in the younger category and mostly unvaccinated.

Although, thanks to the progress of vaccination, the number of deaths has, on the other hand, remained limited.

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Delta variant fifth wave

Throughout June and July, nightlife reopened, and the obligation to wear masks in outdoor spaces was removed. However, even when restrictions were tightened, many youths were found to be partying on the beaches and at illegal events. At the same time, the Delta variant spread rapidly.

Talk of summer leave to be cancelled

The surge in cases, along with a shortage of staff as hospital workers prepare to go on summer leave, is taking its toll on morale. And many cannot hide their exhaustion. The regional health authorities have suspended all non-emergency operations and there is even talk of all summer leave being cancelled. If this happens, it will understandably push some staff to breaking point.

As of August 6, according to the Catalan Health Department, 579 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care in Catalonia. 377 on ventilation, 180 with non-invasive support, and 22 requiring ECMO.

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