Healthcare sounds the alarm: Close non-essential activities

HEALTHCARE

The Luganese Moncucco Clinic has had to increase the number of beds in intensive care - Director Camponovo: ‘We don’t know exactly what is happening’

Healthcare sounds the alarm: Close non-essential activities
Healthcare sounds the alarm: «Close non-essential activities»

Healthcare sounds the alarm: Close non-essential activities

Healthcare sounds the alarm: «Close non-essential activities»

Ticino health care is launching a new alarm. The Luganese Moncucco Clinic has announced that - following the evolution of the pandemic - it has been forced to further upgrade its intensive care beds, adding 7 to the 19 already active since November. In total, there are now 58 beds in the COVID facilities of Moncucco and Locarno. A large number, yes, but which risks not being enough. In fact, yesterday 50 patients were admitted to these rooms. And the hospitalization numbers do not bode well.

The illusion

The central point is the rate of admissions. While on one hand there was a stabilization of diagnosed cases during the Christmas holidays, on the other hand there was a new increase in hospitalizations last week. The test data at this stage does not report everything. Indeed, they risk creating a distorted and dangerous view of reality.

‘The numbers say just that’ explains Christian Camponovo, director of the Luganese Moncucco Clinic. “In particular, the figures for hospitalizations both in the ward and in intensive care are worsening. If we look exclusively at the data of the infections, we live in a sort of illusion: they seem better than the period before Christmas“. But there is an explanation as clear as it is disturbing. Camponovo again: “The signs are clear. Lately, the youngest as well as people up to 50 no longer go to be tested. We have in fact noticed a collapse of the positives in those age groups that cannot be explained otherwise“.

A worrying trend

Yet, the virus continues to circulate among the Ticino population. And massively. “The rate of positivity among those who carry out the test is worrying, we are around 30 percent“ comments the director of Moncucco. “Well above the 10-15% alarm threshold“ The suspicion, then, is that many have given up the test in order not to deprive themselves of the moments of celebration. “The data we can see says that during Christmas far fewer people were tested, especially young people“ Camponovo reiterates. “However, still referring to the data, I see that this trend started around December 20th and this sign leads me to assume that there has been a certain relaxation, a certain tendency to give up the test in order not to have to undergo isolation or quarantine. A highly selfish behavior“.

There is no escape from those data

The numbers relating to infections are stable, and down compared to some time ago. But the reality is different, and it can be seen precisely in hospitalizations. “There is no escaping from these“ continues Camponovo. “We saw it in the first wave, when there was a whole other diagnostic system and there was only one case in every six or seven actual cases. The situation from this point of view has in the meantime improved a lot. But in fact, you can’t go wrong about hospitalization: when a person lacks air, he goes to the hospital“. From the simulations carried out regularly, one out of five infected people over 50 must seek hospital treatment. A stable figure for the past four weeks.

A lot of caution is needed

The holidays are drawing to a close. From Thursday we will return to work, as well as to school. We are therefore living in a very delicate phase: the signs of a massive circulation of the virus are all there, on the other, people will return to mix and have professional contacts. “In the situation we are currently in, where we don’t know exactly what is happening as we are ‘underdiagnosing’, we have to be extremely cautious. We should keep our guard up, and therefore I would avoid immediately returning people who have not seen each other for two weeks. Here, all the measures aimed at avoiding this remixing of society are welcome”.

What Camponovo is asking is time. “Yes, time to really understand where we are, what is happening in the area. At least initially, I would not send teenagers to school, starting from middle school. In general, we must be cautious about the opening of shops and businesses“. The director then broadens the discussion, connecting with what is happening around us in Switzerland. “I don’t think Ticino and Switzerland are different from other countries, like Germany or Austria, which also have a very solid health system but have closed everything. We can’t be superheroes and think we can manage a situation that still sees us in bad shape. I would also like to remind you that Ticino has the highest rate of elderly population in the Confederation: about 23% of those over 65. Other Cantons have a much lower rate. It means that we have a much larger segment of the population at risk than in other contexts“.

“People who risk ending up in hospital or even dying“. For Camponovo, therefore, further measures are needed, involving the whole of society. “I think it’s important to shut down non-essential businesses for at least two or three weeks until we have the full picture. Once the situation has stabilized, openings can then be evaluated. I am the first to say that education is essential, but let’s take a moment - also in relation to the new variants of the virus - to really understand where we are. And here I appeal to the Government“.

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