The speakers at today’s press conference on the current COVID-19 situation were State Secretary Jelko Kacin, National Logistics Coordinator for the Mass Vaccination Campaign against COVID-19, and Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, Head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Fever Conditions at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana.
On Easter Monday, 273 out of 1,879 PCR tests came back positive. The share of positive tests was thus 14.5%. In addition, 3,511 rapid antigen tests were conducted. Yesterday, 573 patients were hospitalised (16 more than the day before), of whom 132 (six more) were in intensive care. Seven patients died.
Over the Easter holidays, with 720 positive tests on Saturday, 283 on Sunday and 273 yesterday, the seven-day average of confirmed cases again fell below 1000, amounting to 943 based on the latest data of the National Institute of Public Health.
Number of occupied beds at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana on the rise
The University Medical Centre Ljubljana currently has 145 COVID-19 patients – considerably more than 14 days ago – 43 of whom are in intensive care, all in need of mechanical ventilation and in a life-threatening condition, said Ms Lejko Zupanc, highlighting the gravity of the situation. The vaccination coverage of the older population is a significant factor in the number of hospitalised patients, as intensive care units might otherwise have already reached maximum capacity, i.e. 250 persons.
In the third wave of the epidemic, the average age of patients in intensive care units is 65 compared to 70 in the second wave. The youngest hospitalised patient is 31 and the oldest is 96 years old. A total of 28% of intensive care patients are younger than 60, and 33% in all wards combined.
Thepattern of underlying conditions is repeating itself in the third wave. There are perhaps a few more cases of serious immune disorders, more cancer and overweight patients, and those suffering from diabetes and kidney conditions.
There are a few previously hospitalised patients, i.e. patients who had already recovered from COVID-19 and now tested positive again. Experts assume these persons are likely infected with another variant of the virus. There are also quite a few people who have recovered from COVID-19 but are experiencing various serious problems which, interestingly, are more pronounced in those who previously exhibited mild symptoms.
Vaccination management is the Government’s first priority
On 7 April, Slovenia expects a delivery of 40,950 Pfizer vaccine doses, of which 21,000 will be used as second doses. When presenting the data, Mr Kacin stated that by the end of the month, Slovenia will be receiving 40,950 doses of this vaccine each week, totalling 163,800 doses in April.
The European Commission is currently conducting negotiations on the third batch, containing 100 million doses for the entire EU. The Commission wants to accelerate the delivery of 10 million doses from this batch for the second quarter of the year, which means that the number of doses earmarked for Slovenia for the next two months would further increase by 47,000. As it stands, in May, Pfizer will make delivery of 35,100 doses four times and 73,710 doses in the last week, excluding the expected additional doses. The latter number of doses will also apply for weekly deliveries in June. These are large quantities, which means that at least 300,000 Pfizer vaccine doses will be available per month.
On 1 April, AstraZeneca delivered its first larger batch, with 45,600 vaccine doses, thus reducing the delivery delays from the previous months. The company will ship a total of 133,819 doses in April. On 16 April, Slovenia is expecting to receive an additional 7,000 Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) vaccine doses and 12,000 doses on 26 April, which might total up to 21,500 doses. Two deliveries of the Moderna vaccine are scheduled in April. The first delivery, which is yet to be confirmed, will contain 14,400 doses and the second delivery around 16,000 doses, totalling 30,400 doses. If all vaccine doses are added up, slightly more than 347,000 doses will be available in April.
Slovenia is adequately organised to receive such quantities of the four types of vaccine and distribute them to vaccination sites. However, there are differences between individual vaccination sites in terms of staff, organisational and infrastructure support. Importantly, such a project is difficult to implement without IT support. More thorough and extended supervision carried out by the health inspectorate will provide new procedures and guidelines, which some local communities and health centres that are currently not optimally organised will be able to adopt and apply in their activities. Choosing a type of vaccine will not be an option. In the future vaccination phases, rotations will be made, which means that individuals will also receive other vaccines that they did not receive when getting their first vaccination.