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Hospitals making room for potential new coronavirus patients

Ljubljana, 18 March - Hospitals around Slovenia are preparing for an expected increase in the number of coronavirus patients who will need intensive treatment, with additional rooms being reserved and transitional units established for those suspected of being infected.

UKC Ljubljana, the country's largest hospital, where 14 coronavirus patients are hospitalised, and a further four undergoing intensive care, is gearing up to receive more patients as people around the country are being tested for the new virus.

The number of beds for intensive care has been increased, and the orthopaedic and dermatology wards are also ready to admit coronavirus patients.

UKC Ljubljana general manager Janez Poklukar has said that the two wards were expected to admit first patients in the coming days.

Transitional units have also been opened in the hospital for patients who are suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, so that potential infection is not spread during the treatment.

In Ljubljana, the four patients in intensive care are in critical condition, while between five and 15 patients are hospitalised in the transitional units at any given moment, Poklukar said.

As the non-urgent programmes have been suspended, the hospital has around 30% of the total staff on hold, who are waiting to be called in in the case of an arrival of a large number of coronavirus patients.

Some employees have also been reassigned to wards where such patients are being treated, said Poklukar, adding that for the time being, there were no major problems with workload or burnout.

Community health centres are also restructuring.

The community health centre in Sevnica, for example, is gearing up to accept potential infected persons, director Vladimira Tomšič told the STA.

In addition to two isolation rooms, basement premises with a total of 12 "boxes" have been added to the mix.

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© STA, 2020