The number of people from Ticino who are in hospital because of Covid-19 has dropped significantly. This can be attributed to the canton’s strict measures. But if you loosen these precautions too much, the next corona wave threatens.
Ticino can draw a positive conclusion after this weekend: The expected Corona peak in the hospitals has taken place and is now over. “There are finally more patients returning home than those coming to the hospital,” says Paolo Ferrari, medical director of the Ticino Cantonal Hospitals (EOC). According to his information, a total of 655 beds are available in the two Covid 19 hospitals in Locarno and Lugano: There were a total of 329 patients on Monday, compared to 415 a week ago. Since the beginning of the epidemic, 350 people have been released from hospital care. The trend is clearly going down and the situation is relaxing, Ferrari notes.
Deaths continue to increase
But great relief is out of place in the southern canton. On Monday, there were still 72 Corona patients in the intensive care units – these have a total of 105 beds – compared to 75 people a week ago. What continues to increase significantly is the number of deaths. A total of 105 patients had died up to seven days ago, and the number was 189 on Monday morning.
Ticino, which is about ten days ahead of the rest of Switzerland in the development of the epidemic, still has the most corona deaths. The increasing mortality rate is understandable insofar as several weeks can pass from infection to serious complications with fatal outcome. In addition, a number of people are still infected: Over the past week, new infections have increased by 584 cases to a total of 2549 by Monday.
The falling patient numbers in the Covid 19 hospitals are due to the strict measures of the Ticino government. And not a natural immunization of the population. The urgent requirement of social distance and isolation within one’s own four walls as well as the closure of companies, construction sites, shopping shops and restaurants are having an effect. So not too many people from Ticino fall ill at the same time and the corona hospitals are not overloaded.
Danger of boomerang effect
Should the government now relax its measures? Ferrari is convinced that this is only possible to a modest extent. In his eyes, a second corona wave threatens if one moves too quickly to the agenda. And then the hospitals might actually be at the stop. According to the cantonal doctor Giorgio Merlani, the corona problem is still far from being overcome: the virus continues to circulate in the population and loose regulations would produce a boomerang effect.
Merlani sees the gradual adaptation of the Ticino anti-corona measures to those of the federal government that are less stringent. But the freedom of movement must be “very well organized” in the coming months, as the cantonal doctor explains. Above all, the social distance and the quasi-shopping ban for seniors are likely to continue for longer.
According to medical director Ferrari, the Ticinese will have to live adapted to the corona virus until a vaccine is found. In his opinion, there will be a second corona peak anyway, but it won’t be as strong and more controllable if people keep the social distance. Together with the hygiene measures, this would also be a basic condition for a possible controlled restart of the operation of companies and on construction sites. Because according to Ferrari, the workers are less threatened by the corona virus than the typical risk groups. This means that a hospital stay is less often necessary, as previous experience has shown.
School opening still unclear
And what about the schools that have been closed in Ticino for three weeks? Here, easing the measures seems even more difficult. As the Ticino director of education Manuele Bertoli explains, medical experts are still investigating how to maintain social distance. Therefore, the schools will probably remain closed for a while and continue to function via distance learning. Another fact needs to be clarified: many students who can carry the virus use public transport. And that’s where they come into contact with the most vulnerable group – the elderly.