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China Times: the ICUs in Many Hospitals Are Close to Saturation; Staff Reduction Rate Is up to 70 Percent in Some Hospitals

Regarding the current situation of Covid treatment in China, a reporter interviewed Professor Qiu Yunqing, executive vice president of the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine and deputy director of the State’s Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control.

Qiu Yunqing told reporters, “Now that the number of infected people in a number of places has reached a relatively high level. it can be inferred that the peak of severe cases in many places may arrive in 2 to 3 weeks. At this stage, hospitals at all levels urgently need to make preparations for treating severe patients.”  The peak of severe cases will generally appear 2 to 3 weeks after the peak of infection.

Qiu Yunqing added, “At present, the intensive care units of hospitals in many places have reached a relatively saturated state. The treatment time for critically ill patients is generally relatively long and it takes a long time for patients to recover once they are admitted to the hospital or intensive care unit. Therefore, the existing medical resources may very likely be in short supply and it will be a huge challenge for the medical resources and medical personnel in hospitals to treat critically ill patients.”

The challenge to the hospitals has just begun. The Intensive care department, the respiratory department, and the emergency department are the three most over-loaded departments in most hospitals. The heads of the relevant departments of many top hospitals across the country told China News Weekly that, basically, all of the medical staff in these departments were infected. Although they have returned to work one after another recently, most of them came to work with illnesses and there is still a shortage of medical staff.

“The biggest problem facing these hospitals now is the shortage of medical staff. Since last week, a large number of the medical staff in the hospitals have been infected one after another. The staff reduction rate has now reached 70 percent.” On December 20, Zhao Linzhi, a critical care physician at a hospital in Wuhan, told China News Weekly  that some doctors and nurses with mild symptoms were exhausted because of staying up late and working overtime. In addition, some students who had been studying and training in the hospital left the hospital one after another, which stretched the insufficient medical resources even further. What makes Zhao Linzhi most anxious every day is not knowing who will show up to work in the hospital the next day.

With the gradual increase of critically ill patients, over occupancy of hospital beds has occurred in many hospitals.

Source: China Times, December 29, 2022