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Algarve health authorities move forward with psychological support for health professionals and public

25psycho supportFrom this week a psychology service will be available at Health Centres around the region, aimed at health professionals, as well as citizens, announced Paulo Morgado, president of the board of directors of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve.

This was announced this morning, Friday, April 17th, at the weekly press conference at the premises of the Regional Command for Emergency and Civil Protection of the Algarve, in Loulé. “So far, 15 people have been helped. There are not many because the service, despite everything, is not yet properly advertised”, said Paulo Morgado.

“Health professionals are particularly vulnerable, as are their families, in this very peculiar situation that we are experiencing. This is a very important service because the preservation of people’s mental health, if it is not yet a big problem, will increase in the future”, he predicted.

“Therefore, we must have better support in this area”. In addition to having the psychologists from each Health Center, this offer works in conjunction with the local mental health services and psychiatry units at the Faro and Portimão hospitals.

Access is given to these mental health services via referral from a family doctor. Regarding health professionals infected with COVID-19, Paulo Morgado, updated the number to 21 (one more than last week). “None of these cases are serious situations,” he said.

Also according to this official, the epidemiological evolution in the Algarve of COVID-19 has started to reach “a plateau phase. In the last few weeks, we have seen an increase in cases of less than 5 percent, and in the latter, even less than that percentage”.

“Obviously, it is a situation that reassures us, but we cannot lower our arms. We may be in this situation for a few more weeks, and then we will reach a downward phase”. In other words, “the virus will start to reduce when the number of recovered people exceeds what are the new cases” of infected people. Even so, in the near future, it will not be possible to “let your guard down” or reduce “essential measures to help lower this transmission”, such as social distance.

“You will always go through a life different from the one we had before this pandemic. We will be in this situation for a few months, until we have an effective treatment or vaccine. This is still expected to be more distant in time”, alleged the head of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve.

For now, “the situation is stable in the region, the increase in cases is slight, and so we are in a plateau phase”.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Laboratory of Dr. Laura Ayres has already began receiving the reagents for COVID-19 testing that previously were missing and as such, is no longer having to send the samples from the Algarve to the Hospital de São José, in Lisbon, Morgado also informed.

“It allows us to give a better answer”, and in the region 7162 COVID-19 tests have already been carried out so far.

Also according to Paulo Morgado, the areas dedicated to COVID-19 in the health centres in the region are each receiving an average of 10 visits per day. Most are related to other respiratory diseases that do not end up justifying testing for Coronavirus infection.