Czech Health Minister Warns of ‘Huge’ Spike in COVID-19 Patients

The Czech Republic’s health minister said Friday the country’s health system needs be ready for a “huge influx,” of COVID-19 patients over the next 10 days to two weeks, as the nation faces Europe’s fastest growing rate in new coronavirus cases.Health Minister Roman Prymula told reporters at a news briefing in Prague the nation is looking at perhaps as much as a three-week surge of COVID-19 patients.At a time when all of Europe is facing an increase in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Czech Republic has been hit perhaps the hardest.  The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the Czech Republic leads the continent in the rate of new infections over the past two weeks, with nearly 702 cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks, and nearly 50,000 of its total of 149,010 cases registered last week alone. The country also leads Europe in rate of deaths from the virus over the same period, 5.2 per 100,000 people.The Czech health ministry’s figures show the day-to-day increase reached 9,721 on Thursday, 177 more than the previous record set a day earlier.Hospitals across the country have been postponing unnecessary operations to focus on the growing number of COVID-19 patients. While Prymula said the country has doubled patient capacity, he says facilities could be full by the end of October.The Czech military will start to build a field hospital for 500 patients at Prague’s exhibition center over the weekend. Neighboring Germany has offered to take in some overflow intensive care patients.Officials say of the Czech Republic’s 84,430 people currently ill with the virus, 2,920 need hospitalization, 242 more than the previous day, with 543 in serious condition. 

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