COVID-19: A third of those killed in Portugal were residents of nursing homes or institutions
There are almost 200 deaths registered in nursing homes or similar institutions since the beginning of the pandemic in Portugal – which makes up about one third of the total number of deaths. The Director-General of Health, Graça Freitas, underlined this fact and left criticisms to institutions that are not complying with the essential “two rules”: banning visits and isolating new users for 14 days.
In a briefing this Tuesday, the head of the country’s health authorities took the opportunity to make a strong appeal for vaccination, and confidence and care in health units that have areas dedicated to COVID-19 patients.
With regard to the high number of cases in nursing homes and associated fatality rates, Graça Freitas recalls the age of the residents, as well as their associated diseases and the concentration of elderly people in the same place as some of the factors that contribute negatively to the spread of COVID-19 in homes and similar institutions.
The Director-General of Health also criticized institutions that did not respect the visit ban imposed in early March and the need to isolate new users for 14 days. “In relation to the 567 deaths recorded to date, about a third of these deaths occurred in a population that is, in fact, in institutions”, confirmed Graça Freitas after being questioned on how representative deaths in care homes are in the total number of deaths registered so far . This is, moreover, a situation similar to that experienced in Spain, where nursing homes are strongly affected by the pandemic.
Regarding the return of discharged COVID-19 patients to their residences, Graça Freitas says that this return has to happen whenever they are mild cases, so that hospitals are reserved for more serious cases.
“The cases that are fortunately not very serious, only of very moderate or mild pathology, should remain in their usual residence and not go to hospitals where other situations will be treated, either for acute patients or for more serious patients with COVID-19”, said the leader of Portugal’s health authority, guaranteeing the follow-up of these patients through the local health centres.
Moreover, it was stated that national production of masks should be scaled up “already this week” This comes after recommending the public use of masks in all closed places such as supermarkets, pharmacies or public transport.
Infarmed released this Tuesday the “technical specifications” that will allow companies to move towards production “already this week”, announced the Secretary of State for Health António Sales, adding that “about 200 companies” had already shown interest in starting up mask production.
Furthermore, the president of Infarmed, Rui Ivo, underlined that the use of the masks does not mean waiving all other rules to be complied with. He said that this week rules will be made public with information on the conditions of use and the types of masks that may be created in the national context.