COVID-19 Infections And Hospitalizations Surge In Greece Amid XBB Sublineages Dominance
: In a recent report from the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (EODY), Greece is witnessing a concerning surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, particularly driven by the various highly transmissible Omicron XBB sub-lineages. With these variants dominating the scene, health authorities are closely monitoring the situation to curb the spread and protect public health.
Compared to the previous week, the total number of tested samples for the SARS-CoV-2 virus indicated a worrying surge in positivity rates across the country. This sharp increase in cases has put an immense strain on the healthcare system, with a record number of 321 new admissions for COVID-19 reported in the past week alone. This represents a staggering 41% increase compared to the average weekly number of new admissions over the previous four weeks.
The situation becomes even more alarming when looking at the number of patients in ICU requiring new intubations. A staggering nine individuals required intubation in the past week, marking a 125% increase over the average weekly number of new intubations seen in the previous four weeks. Currently, there are 16 intubated patients battling the severe effects of COVID-19 infection.
Tragically, the pandemic continues to claim lives in Greece. The report highlighted 24 deaths from COVID-19, with a median age of 87.5 years, ranging from 67 to 97 years. These numbers emphasize the importance of protecting vulnerable populations as the pandemic persists.
Greek physicians and healthcare staff are insisting that all COVID-19 statistics reported in the local COVID-19 News
reports do not represent the actual state of seriousness of the current surge as COVID-19 testing is still done at a very conservative rate while the number of sick individuals with respiratory issues turning up at hospitals and clinics are relatively high.
In terms of viral strains, the Omicron XBB sub-variants XBB.1.5 and XBB.1.16 are currently predominant in Greece, with XBB.1.5 sub-lineage being the most frequent. Notably, the sub-lineage XBB.1.5 accounted for 80% of the sequenced strains, followed by XBB.1.16 at 18%.
The EODY is closely monitoring the viral load in municipal wastewater, which has shown a worrying increase in SARS-CoV-2 virus circulation in eight out of ten areas tested. These findings serve as a crucial indicator of the virus's prevalence in different regions.
Amid this concerning situation, the report also touched on the status of other respiratory viruses. The positivity rate for the influenza virus in the community remains below 10%, according to sentinel data. Encouragingly, there have been no new severe cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza requiring ICU hospitalization, nor have there been any new deaths recorded due to the f
lu. However, it is important to remain vigilant and continue monitoring influenza trends to avoid any potential co-circulation with COVID-19.
Additionally, all tested samples for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) were negative, providing some relief in the midst of the pandemic's chaos.
Interestingly, on the 23rd of July, Greece had abolished all mandatory usage of protective face mask in hospitals.
As Greece grapples with the surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, health authorities are urging citizens to adhere to preventive measures rigorously.
Health authorities are once again asking the public to wear masks, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance, and to get vaccinated to limit the virus's spread.
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