Today, the virus is “located” at the core of the third level of the outbreak, and it may slip at an unfavorable moment to the fourth level, especially after leaving the safe zone, especially with regard to the number of infections that have returned to cross the threshold of a thousand infections, in addition to the rise in the number of infections. Deaths and the percentage of positive tests that were recorded in some areas was 15%. As for the comprehensive report, the percentage is also not in the best condition, even if it recorded a total of 8.9%, which is a rate that warns of the following danger, in contrast to the high number of deaths that ranged in the last two days between 8 and 10 per day.
It is true that there is reliance at the current stage on the results of the vaccination process, but what hinders reassurance is the extent to which the health sector will be able to absorb the stage of the outbreak if we reach it. The worrying question in light of the rising numbers is: Will the hospital sector be able to cope? There is no answer yet, but there is a fear that it will be difficult to meet the “call”, in light of the many challenges that make the confrontation more difficult. The exchange of the dollar is no longer the only thing that hinders the confrontation, after adding to it the massive interruption in a large number of medicines, and the continuous migration of the medical and nursing sector. These challenges are reflected in official statements, the latest of which was the instructions issued by the Minister of Health, Firas Al-Abyad, a few days ago – according to information for “Al-Akhbar” – to raise the readiness of government hospitals and increase the number of beds allocated for Corona patients.
In addition to this cautious reality, most hospitals have lost the ability to regain control of the confrontation. So far, there are about 14 government hospitals in Lebanon that are still receiving Corona patients, comprising 394 beds (178 of them for care). In addition, only 30 private hospitals are still “keeping” Corona departments open, including only 400 beds (150 for intensive care). Can these hospitals, collectively, accommodate the large numbers of injured in the event of a new wave?
The head of the Syndicate of Owners of Private Hospitals in Lebanon, Suleiman Haroun, confirms that the majority of private hospitals have closed Corona departments, stressing the difficulty of bearing a new wave of the virus, although he excludes the high number of infected people who are forced to enter hospitals, at least in the current stage, given the number of those who received vaccinations. Or they have previously contracted the virus.
However, “hospitals’ capabilities have declined compared to their situation in the last wave,” Haroun asserts, due to “the acute shortage of medical and nursing staff, in addition to the high costs incurred by hospitals to purchase medical supplies sold in dollars, in addition to the fact that their prices in pounds have become three to three times higher.” Four times more than it was before. He points out that the problem also affects the requirements for the prevention of the pandemic (such as the clothes whose prices have increased fourfold), in addition to the interruption of a number of medicines that are used to treat corona patients, such as the Actemra drug, which some have to buy from the black market.
The rate of positive tests in some centers ranges between 10 to 15%.
Despite Haroun’s concerns, the head of the Hospitals and Dispensaries Department in the Ministry of Health, Hisham Fawaz, has a more optimistic view, especially in terms of the availability of drugs that are used to treat Corona patients, as well as with regard to medical equipment, including artificial respirators, pointing out that “with a walking enemy.” adverb”.
However, what is “not walking” is the migration of the “white army” caused by the economic crisis, as this migration remains the greatest concern among private and government hospitals, due to the pressure they exert on the health sector, especially as it puts the patient’s life in danger, he adds. Fawaz.
What about the ministry’s efforts to avoid a health disaster?
Fawaz stresses the need to take the vaccine, pointing out that the ministry seeks to increase the number of vaccinated people by targeting new age groups and adopting buses and mobile clinics to reach residents in areas where the vaccination rate is still low, such as Baalbek-Hermel, Akkar and some areas of the south.
In a parallel step, Fawaz indicates that the ministry is cooperating with the Ministry of Education by sending teams to vaccinate students after registering them on the vaccination platform, noting that the number of those aged between 12 and 16 who received the first dose amounted to about 90,000, while the number of vaccinators exceeded Those between the ages of 16 and 18 are 100,000.
To see the current situation of hospitals, a sample of two main hospitals facing the Corona crisis today can be satisfied, including Fotouh Kesrouan Governmental Hospital – El Bouar. In this context, the director of the hospital, Doctor Andre Kazili, confirms that “the Corona department is still open, and it currently has 11 patients, and it receives two to three patients daily.” Qazili feared the positive rate of PCR tests, which ranges today between 10 to 15%, “while most patients arrive at the hospital in an advanced condition that requires admission to intensive care,” noting on the other hand that the average number of vaccinated people in the hospital is 400 per day, some of whom started receiving The third dose.
On a parallel line, and although the hospital is obligated at a price of 100,000 pounds to perform the PCR examination, it seems that an additional problem is starting to loom, as Qazili says that “we are informed by the companies that the materials used in the examination will be paid for in US dollars, and therefore we are communicating with the Ministry.” To find out how to solve the problem.
In St. George Hospital – Hadath, the Corona department has not yet closed, but its general manager, Hassan Aleik, explains that after the decline of the Corona wave last June, 40 beds out of 130 in this department were kept, “all of which are currently full with patients,” declaring that the rate of Positive tests today range from 10 to 14%. This indicates that the worst is yet to come. Is it too late?