Society 24/07/2021

"The feeling that we have already passed the worst of the pandemic is absolutely confronted with reality"

Catalan Health Institute expects to recover in September non-urgent activity in primary healthcare centres and hospitals

2 min
Healthcare professionals attending to a patient in the ICU of the Hospital de la Vall de Hebrón in Barcelona during the pandemic.

BarcelonaThere is a big gap between the "feeling" among the population that the pandemic is over and what hospitals are experiencing these days. This is what the director of the Catalan Health Institute, Yolanda Lejardi, has stated in an interview with RAC1, and has assured that "the feeling that we have already passed the worst of the pandemic is absolutely confronted with reality". The fifth wave, she said, puts efforts to normalise medical care "at risk".

That's why, coinciding with much of its staff on vacation, the Health Department announced on Friday that the health system returns to focus exclusively on treating covid-19 patients and, as in March 2020, the Department has given the order to deprogramme all postponable activity in primary care and hospitals to be able to devote itself to the pandemic and to unpostponable and urgent cases. The order is valid for three months -that is, until the end of October, already in autumn-, although it can be corrected downward or upward depending on the evolution of infections.

Lejardi has said that, in this sense, she hopes that in September healthcare centres and hospitals can recover non-urgent activity. She added that the three months that the Health Department has given is a "conjunctural" term, which depends on each centre, as centres "do not deprogramme in the same way throughout the country". According to the ICS director, the system had begun to recover non-urgent activity thanks to an "added effort" by professionals, but has warned that "the setback of the fifth wave puts the entire recovery process at risk". "We have the hands we have, there is no more", she lamented.

On the other hand, the Department of Health has declared 22 more critical patients in ICUs in recent hours: there are already 480, and it is expected that this weekend this number will reach 500. However, the number of hospitalised patients has broken the upward trend of recent weeks and has fallen by 13 people, and now those in hospital are 2,015. The Health Department has also reported 5,733 new infections and a slight decrease in the R number, which is down one hundredth and stands at 0.95. The EPG has also decreased 19 points to 1,145. No fatalities have been reported in the last hours.