Number of coronavirus cases rises to 897, 16 deaths confirmed


A total of 112 patients were in hospitals around the country today, 29 of them in intensive care. Four persons were released from hospital in the last 24 hours and one person died.

So far, a total of 24,857 tests have been performed.

As many as 162 of those infected are elderly persons at care homes, the major virus hotspots in the country, their number increasing by 25 from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Data from the Labour Ministry also show that 32 staff at the facilities are infected, two more than the day before.

The largest outbreaks have been at the nursing homes at Šmarje pri Jelšah (NE), where at least 60 residents and 15 staff are infected according to data as of Wednesday, and Ljutomer (NE), where the infection spread from two to 33 people in just five days.

Concerns have been raised in Ljutomer for the safety of the town's 4,000 residents, with the care home there rejecting the allegations that it had put the residents, staff and the whole community at risk through inadequate response to the situation.

The first nursing home outbreak was in Metlika in the south but the situation there appears to have since stabilised because the infected were fast isolated. A total of 39 are infected there as of Wednesday.

Another hot spot is a nursing home in Horjul, a community just west of Ljubljana that saw its tally of cases rise by four to 24 on Wednesday, with 19 at the nursing home.

A further 11 are infected at the Bokalce unit of the old-age facility in the Ljubljana Vič Rudnik borough.

In order to prevent any further spread, the Labour Ministry sent instructions to all care homes today to set up three separate zones: one for healthy residents, one for residents suspected of being infected and one for the resident who have already tested positive.

In case of a Covid-19 infection among the residents at the facility, the staff must not move between healthy residents and those infected or suspected of being infected.

All care homes need to monitor the health of their staff and their families, which means all staff will need to measure their body temperature before coming in to work.

In case of a change in body temperature they will have to notify the person in charge, and will not be allowed to come back to work until the reason for the change in their health condition has been cleared.

In addition, old-age facilities need to form teams to handle residents in case of a Covid-19 outbreak, which should comprise the facility's official, GP, nurse, a public health specialist, a coordinator appointed by the minister and a senior nurse appointed by the Chamber of Nurses and Midwives.

However, the association of care homes is not happy with the proposed solutions, arguing that most homes could not set up such separate zones as proposed by the ministry, and even those who could could only do so when the number of infected was still were small.

The association said that nursing homes were not equipped or qualified to treat a large number of Covid-19 patients, and they oppose moving the healthy residents to other locations or home care.

They find it unacceptable that "part of the sick citizens should be treated at hospitals with all the necessary medical equipment and trained staff, while part of the ill elderly be cared at old-age facilities, which lack the required conditions". They believe thus would be a gross violation of human rights.

The municipalities with the biggest number of confirmed coronavirus cases are Ljubljana (182), followed by Šmarje pri Jelšah (112), Metlika (49) and Ljutomer (38).