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Hospital pressure increases in Malaga with 40 per cent of Andalucía's Covid admissions

A health worker, with a Covid patient in a Malaga hospital.
A health worker, with a Covid patient in a Malaga hospital. / SUR
  • In just over three weeks, the province's hospitals have gone from treating 90 patients with coronavirus to almost 400

Almost 40 per cent of the coronavirus patients admitted to Andalusian hospitals are receiving care in Malaga - the province in the region that is most affected by the fifth wave of the pandemic.

Of the 974 coronavirus patients in Andalusian hospitals on Saturday, some 383 of them had been admitted to Malaga hospitals, representing 39.32 per cent of the total. Some considerable distance behind was Seville, whose hospitals had 142 patients with the SARS-CoV-2 virus on Saturday (14.57 per cent of the Andalusian total).

Public health and epidemiology experts did not expect coronavirus cases to skyrocket in midsummer. In fact, the forecasts were that the situation would be much more controlled thanks to the progress of the vaccination campaign and the fact that during the summer season more life is lived outdoors. However, the emergence of the Delta variant, which is up to 60 per cent more transmissible, and the increase in mobility and social relations among young people - who are not vaccinated - have brought about a notable growth in infections.

The consequence is that the number of hospital admissions have multiplied in recent weeks. The pressure on hospitals in Malaga is much greater than at the beginning of the summer. The province has gone from 90 Covid-19 patients on wards on 1 July to 383 on Saturday. In just over three weeks, 293 people with coronavirus were admitted.

Regarding intensive care units (ICUs), Malaga province also has the highest volume of coronavirus patients in Andalucía, with 33.72 percent of the total. In second position is Seville, with 20.71 per cent. The latest update by the Junta de Andalucía’s Ministry of Health showed that of the 169 Covid patients in intensive care units, 57 corresponded to Malaga hospitals. At the beginning of July, there were only 13 people in the Malaga ICUs with an infection caused by SARS-CoV-2.

The rise in activity of the fifth wave has hit the health service in the peak holiday season and with staff exhausted after tackling the pandemic for a year and a half. The lack of human resources complicates the month of July a bit more compared to May and June. "We did not expect such a large growth in infections," said José Luis Velasco, the head of the pulmonology service, medical deputy director and coordinator of the Covid area of the Virgen de la Victoria Hospital, told SUR.

A characteristic of this fifth wave is that infections are occuring mainly in the 15 to 29 age group. As they are young people, most of them are affected by the disease in a mild way, but sometimes complications arise and patients need to be admitted to hospital and in some cases they even end up in ICUs. "Some of the young people who get infected become very sick," recognised the provincial delegate for Health, Carlos Bautista.