Number of coronavirus cases up by 26, no new deaths on Sunday
Ljubljana, 30 March - Slovenia's tally of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 26 on Sunday to 756, but there have been no new deaths, so the death toll remains at 11, Health Minister Tomaž Gantar told reporters on Monday.
"The data I'm getting make me partly optimistic," the minister said, as the curve of new cases slowed down. But he said the slowdown, which he attributed to stringent lockdown measures, should not lull anyone to sleep.
Out of 21,349 tests conducted by Sunday midnight, 756 came back positive, 26 more than the day before after much higher increases in the previous days.
Gantar said that 115 Covid-19 patients were currently in hospital, 28 of them in intensive treatment units.
Similarly, doctor Bojana Beović, an infectious disease specialist, told the press a quick look at the epidemic showed a more favourable situation than in Italy's worst hit areas.
Nevertheless, "the figures still do not inspire optimism, since the number of hospitalised patients has doubled in seven days and the number of those in intensive case in five days."
Saying the doctors welcomed additional restrictions imposed by the government to contain the virus, she said the country's healthcare had fewer facilities and staff than many European countries, which makes it even more important to contain and slow down the disease.
Gantar meanwhile said the health system was managing the situation for the time being. "All the measures taken are aimed at allowing the health system to provide care for those in need," he said.
Beović, asked by the press for how much longer the system could keep up, said it also depended on how well we are supplied with new equipment.
More than 500 beds are currently available for Covid-19 patients, with about 50 intensive care beds, both of which Gantar said could be expanded in case of an escalation.
Extra equipment is also being made available, including ventilators and the situation is improving with respect to personal protective equipment, so that urgent needs are met, said the minister.
As many as 108 of those who tested positive are health workers, 24 of them at retirement homes.
After a patient was detected last week in the UKC Maribor hospital who had initially tested negative, only to test positive later after being hospitalised in a segment reserved for non-coronavirus patients, a so called white zone breach has also happened in Slovenj Gradec.
The Slovenj Gradec general hospital has admitted such a patient and now 25 of the hospital staff are in self-isolation. "Their first tests are negative," hospital director Janez Lavre said in reference to the employees.
As lockdown measures were stepped up today, Gantar said the government was aware those interfered in people's lives, but were "the only way if we want to manage the epidemic".
He said the measures to contain the epidemic would change with respect to the findings of the countries that had fought the new virus earlier.
The government has already proposed several additional measures in the extensive legislative package to be passed by parliament on Wednesday, including giving other institutions aside from the health inspectorate extra powers to enforce lockdown measures, and increasing fines for those who flout them.
Commenting on the coronavirus hotspot at the Šmarje nursing come, Gantar said this was from the time before the restrictions. He also projected that more residents might get infected.
As of Friday 83 residents of care homes across the country were infected, but the figures keep rising.