Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Hospitals in Sofia ‘facing collapse’

If the pressure on hospitals in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia does not subside within days, admitting patients will become impossible, regional health inspectorate head Dancho Penchev told Bulgarian National Television in an interview on March 21.

Penchev said that 90 per cent of the hospital beds in Sofia were occupied.

In Sofia, there were more than 4000 beds for Covid-19 patients not in need of intensive care, and 344 for people needing intensive care.

“This morning, I spoke with the directors of several hospitals. One said ‘I have eight beds – four oxygen, four intensive’. Another said ‘I have nothing free’,” Penchev said.

“The beds in Sofia are 90 per cent full, and as I said, they are continuing to fill up,” he said.

“If the trend of hospitalisations in Sofia continues, the medical network will collapse in a few days.”

He said that it was not a matter of running out of beds. The number of staff was a constant and they would not be sufficient to serve an increased number of patients.

Penchev said that it could not be guaranteed that the 10 days of heightened measures that take effect on March 22 would stop the spread.

“Our hope is at least to maintain the level of distribution we have so far, and not to allow it to go up,” He said.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev, interviewed by Bulgarian National Radio on March 21, said that “10 days is not a short period, but we do not know if it will be enough”.

The reduction of contacts between people would have an impact, Kunchev said.

He indicated that it was possible that the heightening of the measures would be extended further after 10 days.

“The situation in hospitals is not good, the pressure on them continues to grow. The demand for medical care has increased, which means that the new strain leads to a faster development of a more severe clinical picture, which requires hospital treatment.”

He said that there were about 8000 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 700 in intensive care.

“This is too large a number, which exhausts an already very tired health system,” Kunchev said.

According to the March 21 report by the national information system, there are 8545 patients with Covid-19 in hospital in Bulgaria, an increase of 1597 in the past week, with 691 in intensive care, an increase of 169 compared with the March 14 report.

(Archive photo: Alexandrovska Hospital)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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