Sixth wave of Covid puts pressure on Spain’s hospitals and ICU wards

Sixth wave of Covid puts pressure on Spain's hospitals and ICU wards
Intensive care units across the country are surpassing the 5 per cent threshold recommended by the health ministry for Covid-19 patients. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP
Almost all of Spain's regions have surpassed the recommended 5 percent threshold for Covid-19 patients in intensive care units.

Just two weeks until Christmas, the sixth wave of Covid in Spain isn’t slowing down, and the country is once again on “high risk” level for Covid-19, with an incidence rate of 305 cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks.

The spike in infections comes after the Puente de La Constitución bank holiday when people moved around the country and gathered for seasonal festivities.

The rise in cases is already putting pressure on intensive care units, many of which have surpassed the recommended threshold of 5 percent recommended by the health ministry, and some have even surpassed 20 percent.

From December 1st the average occupancy of intensive care units has gone from 8 percent to 11.3 percent, according to the latest data published on Thursday.

The worst numbers for intensive care units are in La Rioja (20.7 percent), Navarre (19.4 percent) the Basque Country (17.3 percent and Catalonia (20.2 percent), which have the most patients with severe cases of Covid-19.

READ ALSO: How Spain will vaccinate five to 11 year-olds against Covid

They are followed by Aragon (15.4 percent), Castilla y León (15 percent) the Valencian Community (13.9 percent) and the Community of Madrid (12.8 percent), while other autonomous communities are between 5 and 11 percent. 

Only Andalucia (4.9 percent) and Extremadura (3.6 percent,) are below the recommended level.

La Rioja has 11 Covid-19 patients in intensive care, while Navarra has 23, the Basque Country has 71 and Catalonia has 252 – which means the ICUs have returned to the situation in mid-September.

The regions with the highest incidence rate – and with the highest risk of transmission – are Navarre (incidence rate of 956.30 per 100,000 people), the Basque Country (757.94) and Aragon (591.47).

In the past couple of days, 84 deaths have been recorded, bringing the total number to 88.321. Of those, 12 are from December 8th, while 128 are from the past week.

Countries across Europe have been reintroducing restrictions due to the rise in cases across the continent, as well as the emergence of the new Omicron variant. But for now, the government isn’t planning any further restrictions, apart from the introduction of a Covid pass in most regions.

Spain’s Public Health Commission announced earlier this week that it would begin vaccinating five to 11 year-olds on December 15th.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez asked Spaniards on Wednesday to trust science, to be prudent and make sure they’re vaccinated and to wear masks when necessary.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?


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