Covid-19 in Bulgaria: 70% ICU beds occupied, Health Minister says hospitals coping

Seventy per cent of the intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients and 69 per cent of beds for non-emergency cases of the disease are occupied, Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told a regular weekly news conference on March 25.

He said that the number of Covid-19 patients currently in hospital was significantly higher than during the second wave, but hospitals were coping with the situation.

“Bulgaria will cope with this third wave. All medical institutions are prepared,” Angelov said.

“Where there is a shortage of beds, we compensate with new structures, we have provided the entire system with additional quantities and medicines, personal protective equipment and disinfectants too, as well, of course, several emergency deliveries of Remdesivir, yesterday we decided on a second delivery.”

Angelov said that the third wave was nothing like the second – almost whole families are ill, many mothers and pregnant women are ill and many young people are in hospitals.

Also different was that medical personnel had been vaccinated during the first phase of vaccination were not getting ill now.

“With that, we have now ensured that there is no shortage of staff in medical institutions,” Angelov said.

He said that the situation in Bulgaria was being monitored constantly and if required, the necessary measures would be imposed. According to Angelov, the situation in Bulgaria was “under control”.

However, in different areas there were different rates of incidence, so local measures were taken, as happened in Bourgas as of March 24, he said.

Angelov said that talks on providing additional vaccines were continuing.

“This was made possible by the efforts of the Bulgarian government and the Bulgarian Prime Minister, who, along with five other countries, demanded justice in the distribution,” he said.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said that in Bulgaria, the rate of morbidity on a 14-day basis was 661 out of 100 000 population, which put the country sixth in the European Union-European Economic Area and second in the Balkans.

Ahead of Bulgaria were Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta and Poland, and the differences were significant, Kunchev said.

He said that in terms of mortality rate, Bulgaria was at 20 per 100 000 population, which put it fourth in the EU-EEA and first in the Balkans. Ahead of Bulgaria in mortality rate were the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

The places in Bulgaria with the highest incidence were Bourgas, Silistra, Sofia, Vratsa and Pleven, and those with the lowest were Turgovishte, Razgrad, Kurdzhali, Vidin and Pazardzhik.

National operational HQ chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski said that in the past week, the number of infected had gone up by 23 per cent and Bulgaria had exceeded the peak seen on November 23 2020.

Mutafchiyski said that patients with Covid-19 develop a hitherto unknown type of diabetes.

“The administration of high doses of corticosteroids and dexamethasone provokes undiagnosed diabetes in those infected with coronavirus.

“Fortunately, for most patients this is a transient condition as well as high blood pressure. This is a side effect of treatment combined with the action of the virus. After about three months of the disease, this diabetes disappears in patients, “he said.

At the briefing, Economy Minister Luchezar Borissov announced a relaxation of the measures concerning large stores.

The change is that while the measures that took effect on March 22 closed stores with a net retail areas of more than 300 square metres, such stores, offering non-food products, may now re-open but must put restrictions on the space available to customers. This may be done by putting up partitions or stands so that customers do not have access outside the demarcated area, he said.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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