Fifth Wave Saturates Health Centers In Spain And Already Asking For Restrictions

The “explosive” increase in covid-19 infections among the younger population that has not yet been vaccinated has caused a fifth wave of coronavirus in Spain that so far is not translating into an increase in hospital pressure or data mortality, but it is saturating the Primary Care services , since the profile of the newly diagnosed responds to a young person with mild symptoms in most cases, or asymptomatic, who require a ten-day follow-up and contact tracing.

Epidemic explosion in Catalonia: infections have increased sevenfold in 15 days
If already this weekend the Asturian authorities spoke of an “explosive increase” among young people that led them to carry out mass screening, this Monday two of the Autonomous Communities with the highest increase in cases, Cantabria and Catalonia, have warned of the “oversaturation “of the health centers .

On the one hand, the fifth wave of infections is saturating Primary Care in Catalonia, which has the task of vaccinating and also suffers an overload of diagnostic tests for covid in recent days. The Secretary of Public Health of the Generalitat, Carmen Cabezas, has sent a new protocol to outpatient clinics this Monday to carry out tests for active infection.

Health has modified the protocols to “rationalize tests, measures and actions” of the covid diagnostic process in the CAP. If until now it was focused on diagnosing fewer and more serious cases, it adapts to the current situation in which the majority of those who reach primary school are young people with symptoms, he has detailed during an interview in Catalunya Ràdio.

Although the protocol addresses when and what test is necessary in each case, it does not mean “doing fewer screening tests” , but it does speed up the diagnostic process, he explained.

On the other hand, the Cantabrian Minister of Health, Miguel Rodríguez, has warned on Cadena Ser that “Primary Care is oversaturated” and has been concerned about the tracking units, “which are saturated.” ” We have an average of eight contacts for each case and that is a terrible job ,” he added.

The increase in consultations in Primary is causing “a setback in the appointment of non-covid patients”
Faced with this scenario, the Federation of Associations for the Defense of Public Health (FADSP) has blamed this Monday the arrival of the fifth wave to the lifting of the mandatory nature of outdoor masks, as well as the end of time restrictions, and has criticized ” the wrong message that was given to society that everything was under control “, for which they have called “to re-implement restrictions of proven utility.”

His spokesman, Dr. Marciano Sánchez Bayle, has lamented 20 minutes later that the increase in consultations in Primary Care is causing “a setback in the citation of non-covid patients .” The doctor has warned that this situation is still worsened by a deficit in the workforce “for a long time” and by vacation staff, who “for the most part have not been replaced .”

Bayle notes that the infections that go to Primary Care services are “mostly young people” and, therefore, claims “to be aware that young people also die of covid, although much less -three out of every thousand- “.

From the FADSP, Bayle urges to “reinforce the resources” of Primary Care and “to take up more restrictive measures: limit hours, reduce capacity in closed places and rethink the masks outdoors”, because he assures that in the street “it is verified that the subway and a half is breached in a relatively high group of people. ” Remember that they already warned that the relaxation of the mask standard was “hasty and potentially dangerous.”

In the street “it is found that the meter and a half is not fulfilled in a relatively high group of people”
Both Bayle and María Justicia, representative of Primary Care in the Amyts medical union, agree in demanding a reinforcement of the Primary Care staff , which are “shattered.”

Justice adds that this summer they have been warned by the authorities that they will have to carry out “survival medicine.” Among the unfilled vacancies -757 in Primary Care and 206 in Pediatrics, according to Amyts data-, withdrawals, resignations and vacations , the remaining health workers resist “exhausted, stressed and taking psychotropic drugs to consult,” laments Justice.

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Amyts spokeswoman asserts that “the fifth wave has exploded” and denounces that young people “are unleashed.”

She is committed to accelerating immunization to the maximum in order to reduce opportunities for the virus to mutate and escape vaccines. “This has not happened, we are in a pandemic, in the fifth wave, and we are already seeing infections between people with the two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca that have been infected by the delta variant . We are neither free nor vaccinated,” he stressed to insist on sending a message of prudence to the public.

Vision in Pediatrics
The pediatrician in a health center in the Community of Madrid Gonzalo Oñoro offers his vision from the Pediatric service, which cares for patients up to 14 years of age. ” Last week I had to order three or four PCR after three or four weeks without needing any . There is no collapse but it is a thermometer of what happens in Primary Care.”

The co-author of the blog Dos pediatras en casa details that this time, unlike in previous waves, the contacts are not the parents but the older siblings of his patients. These are boys and girls between 10 and 13 years old who are infected by their brothers or sisters between 18 and 20 years old, he explains.

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