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Number of coronavirus cases in Slovenia up by 38 to 480

Ljubljana, 24 March - A total of 480 cases of coronavirus infection were confirmed by 10am today, up 38 in a day. According to the National Public Health Institute, central Slovenia remains to be the region with the highest number of infections.

Yunyang, China
Coronavirus tests.
Photo: Xinhua/STA
File photo

Out of the 480 cases, 168 were recorded in central Slovenia, 89 in the Savinjska region in the east, 60 in the south-east, 47 in Podravje in north-east and 31 in Gorenjska in the north. Other regions have less than 20 cases. Six foreigners are also infected.

At least one case of infection has been confirmed until today in 109 of Slovenia's 212 municipalities, while 60 municipalities have more than two cases.

Most of the infected (96 persons) are aged between 25 and 34. Another 91 are 45 to 54 years old.

By midnight, a total of 14,870 tests were conducted.

According to data released by the government, 1,058 persons were tested today and 36 tested positive. In total, 65 persons were hospitalised today, ten are in intensive care.

Slovenia recorded the fourth coronavirus-related death today as an elderly woman died at the Šmarje pri Jelšah nursing home, one of the hotspots of the coronavirus epidemic in the country.

The woman had multiple underlying chronic conditions and died "at a very advanced age", the Šmarje pri Jelšah municipality said on its website without specifying the woman's age.

The woman was a resident of the local nursing home, where 24 residents and six staff have so far been diagnosed with Covid-19.

According to Tadeja Kotar from the UKC Ljubljana hospital, 39 Covid-19 patients are being treated at the hospital today; eight of them in intensive care, which is the same as yesterday. The total number of patients rose by seven.

The patients are on average between 60 and 70 years old. Both the youngest and the oldest patients are women, at 25 and 95, respectively.

Ten people have so far been discharged from hospital, but none from intensive care. She said treatment in intensive care usually takes three to five weeks.

Kristina Nadrah from the hospital's unit for infectious diseases said patients were primarily receiving medical support but that some of them were also receiving the drugs principally used for the treatment of other conditions that have proven to be effective in the treatment of Covid-19, including chloroquine, used to treat malaria, and hydroxychloroquine.

Patients are also receiving lopinavir/ritonavir, which was intended for treating patients with HIV infection.

Nadrah said combinations of the drugs were being prescribed to patients, depending on their underlying conditions. But she stressed this was a test treatment and that the efficiency of the drugs in Covid-19 patients had not been proven yet.

The test drug remdesivir, which was developed in the US as a treatment for Ebola virus disease and is not registered yet, has also already been administered to the first patient.

Slovenia has received the drug as a donation from the US manufacturer, since the drug cannot yet be sold on the market, the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija reported last night.

Nadrah said the patient who had received it was feeling better but that it was hard to say whether this was only because of the drug. She said the drug would be available to other patients in intensive care as well.

According to Nadrah, Slovenian doctors are in contact with their counterparts from abroad on a daily basis. Talks are also under way for Slovenia to start importing some Asian drugs that have not been registered here yet, she said in a video-statement released today by the hospital.

The number of patients at the UKC Maribor hospital rose from 11 to 13. The number of patients in intensive care rose from two to three. The hospital currently has 67 members of staff in self-isolation because of close contacts with infected persons.

The Celje hospital admitted three additional patients today, putting its total number at four. One member of the hospital staff is in self-isolation. Ten tests were conducted among staff there and they were all negative, the hospital said today.

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© STA, 2020