Catalonia has more than 123,000 workers on covid sick leave

Health Dpt will give automatic discharges after seven days and negotiates with mutual insurance companies for the validation of this procedure

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Santa Coloma de GramenetIn Catalonia there are more than 123,400 workers on sick leave due to covid –on January 7 there were 74,000– and the secretary general of the Department of Health, Meritxell Masó, has recalled that it is not necessary to go to health centres to complete this bureaucratic procedure. In order to try to minimise their impact on the healthcare system, the Department has enabled the telematic request of sick leaves through a consultation on La Meva Salut app, on the web site or through a pharmacy, if the result of the antigen test has been registered from these offices. It will now also allow discharges to be managed in a deferred manner seven days after the positive result to free up health professionals. If after this period the person still has symptoms, it will be necessary for them to contact their doctor to assess whether to extend the discharge.

"The epidemiological situation is extraordinary and exceptional measures are needed. Catalonia is in a mitigation phase and health centres must be reserved for people who really need care because they are not feeling well," said Masó, who added that discussions are also underway with mutual insurance companies to agree on a possible collaboration for the processing of sick leave. In addition, and as demanded on Tuesday by Catalan Health minister Josep Maria Argimon, the Department asked the Spanish government to accept and implement a self-responsible statement as other countries already do to avoid saturation of the health system.

While a conventional sick leave requires a doctor's validation, with a declaration of self-responsibility there is an agreement between the employer and the worker who has a positive antigen test. "All the burden of the exceptionalities is for regional governments and it is as an act of solidarity and responsibility that we ask to the State to destress the system of the bureaucratic procedures that we have at the moment", Masó affirmend.

The general director of Health Planning and Regulation, Azucena Carranzo, detailed that 3.4% of health professionals (approximately 3,500 people) are on sick leave, as well as 4% of firefighters and 5.5% of the Mossos d'Esquadra.

The omicron variant has increased the risk of reinfection and cases continue to grow. Currently, 8% of the positives in people under 50 years of age and 6% of those over 50 years of age are people who have been reinfected. The most affected age group is between 20 and 29 years of age, and according to the Secretary of Public Health, where 933 reinfections per 100,000 inhabitants have been detected. "One percent of this population suffers reinfection," Cabezas said.