1,176 new infections as Slovenia’s Covid-19 death toll passes 400

Ljubljana – Slovenia’s death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 412 after 24 more patients with Covid-19 died on Monday. A further 1,176 infections were recorded as more than one out of four tests came back positive. The number of those requiring hospital treatment exceeded 900.

Data released by the government show that 4,587 tests were performed on Monday, which means a positivity rate of 25.64%, slightly up from the day before.

Presenting the latest figures, government spokesman Jelko Kacin noted an improvement over the past week in terms of daily tally of cases and the rate of positive tests (which peaked at almost 35% on 27 October).

“The data encourage us to persevere in compliance with the measures. But the number of those requiring hospital treatment keeps increasing,” he said.

Bojana Beović, the government’s chief Covid-19 advisor, warned in an interview on the morning show on TV Slovenija that due to a change in testing policy a much better indicator of the state of the epidemic than the number of positive cases now was hospital admissions.

The number of Covid-19 hospitalisations has risen to 925, up from 868 the day before, with 146 requiring intensive care, eleven more than the day before. A total of 57 were discharged home yesterday.

The number of active cases has increased to 22,896, and the total case count to 37,382. The rolling 14-day average has increased to 1,092, according to tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

As hospital admissions keep increasing and are expected to continue for a while longer, hospitals are increasingly stretched, mainly in terms of staff, also because of a number of those on sick leave.

Dragan Kovačić, the acting director of the Celje hospital, the country’s third largest, said 177 nurses and 23 doctors were currently on sick leave, or roughly 10% of the staff.

“We expect the numbers to keep increasing, as the stressful situation, work in personal protective equipment, long working hours … take their toll,” he said, addressing the government press briefing by videolink.

Matjaž Vogrin, the medical director of UKC Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest medical centre, told yesterday’s briefing that 133 staff were absent for being infected or self-isolating, with about as many more on sick leave for other reasons, including burnout.

Both Kovačić and Vogrin noted that the mortality rate among hospitalised Covid-19 patients was much lower than in many other developed countries, with 3.3% of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 in Celje or 15.2% of patients in intensive care having died.

Vogrin said yesterday that the ICU mortality rate was about 30% compared to 50% in Germany.

Today, Beović also met with President Borut Pahor, with the latter expressing gratitude to the medical staff, the president’s office said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) launched an SOS number where people can reach mental health experts in cases of crisis.