Photo: BIRN.

Nearly 500 COVID-19 patients being treated in Kosovo’s hospitals

The number of patients receiving treatment in Kosovo’s public hospitals has risen sharply in March, while recorded coronavirus cases also continue to surge.

According to data obtained by Prishtina Insight on Wednesday, 493 patients confirmed as positive for COVID-19 are currently being treated in Kosovo’s public hospitals. The figure represents a sharp rise from February 22 when just 325 patients in the public health system had tested positive.

At the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, UCCK, there are currently 213 patients confirmed as positive for COVID-19 – 185 in clinics dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients, 26 in the pulmonology clinic and two in the pediatric clinic.

Meanwhile, 280 patients confirmed as positive for COVID-19 are currently being treated in Kosovo’s seven regional hospitals, including 68 in the Regional Hospital of Gjilan and 62 in the Regional Hospital of Prizren.

The total number of patients receiving treatment in Kosovo’s public health care system is also rising. On March 4, there were 573 patients housed at UCCK and the seven regional hospitals, while on Wednesday this figure had risen by over 100 to 674.

Although the numbers are rising, they are still considerably below the peak of Kosovo’s COVID-19 crisis in late November 2020. On November 30, Kosovo’s public hospitals housed 1,010 patients overall, of which 710 were confirmed as positive for COVID-19.

Speaking to Kanal10 on Tuesday night, health minister Armend Zemaj stated that Kosovo’s public health system had the capacities to treat COVID-19 patients. 

“Our hospital service at [UCCK] can provide 1,300 beds for COVID,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we should feel free to behave carelessly, but these are our capacities.”

Zemaj added that any decision regarding new measures will be taken following the weekly meeting of the Committee for the Assessment of the Epidemiological Situation on Thursday. “If it is demanded, the government will tighten the measures or take additional measures to decrease the number of infections,” he said.

However Basri Lenjani, the head of the Emergency Clinic at UCCK, believes tighter measures should have been installed earlier, particularly before the election campaign in February, which saw large-scale gatherings. 

Lenjani told Prishtina Insight that his clinic has seen a 20 percent rise in patients in March compared to January and February. “Because the people and political parties did not respect the COVID-19 rules, our clinic will face consequences,” he said.

The number of recorded coronavirus cases and reported deaths from COVID-19 in Kosovo have increased considerably in the first 10 days of March compared to the same period in February.

Between February 1 and February 10, Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health, NIPH, recorded 2,224 cases of coronavirus, while between March 1 and March 10 this figure has more than doubled, with 5,378 infections recorded in this period. 

Meanwhile, 75 deaths from COVID-19 have been announced by the NIPH between March 1 and March 10, compared to just 34 deaths between February 1 and February 10.

10/03/2021 - 15:08

10 March 2021 - 15:08

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.