Croatia's COVID numbers continue to rise throughout the country. Public health authorities reported 1,369 new infections on Thursday, 400 more than a week ago. Nine people have died of COVID-19. Hospitals are treating 628 patients, 72 of whom are on ventilators.
Cases are rising among elementary and high school students who started the year with in person classes. Around 360 kids, ages 10 to 19, have tested positive since school started ten days ago.
"In the daily breakdown of new cases up until September 13, the largest number of infections was in the 30 to 39 age group. In the last two days, we've seen an increase in the 9 to 19 age group, which is now on par with the 30 to 39 agree group. Given that the school year has just started and the fact that the delta variant is highly contagious and kids are most often asymptomatic, I strongly urge teachers who have not done so yet, to get vaccinated," said Health Minister Vili Beroš.
Beroš said hospitalizations had increased by more than 400 patients over the past week.
"More than 77% of them are not vaccinated," the minister added.
Croatia plans to obtain more doses of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, around 5,000 doses for use over the next two months in patients with the most severe forms of COVID, Beroš said.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković called on all older Croatian citizens who have not been vaccinated to get their shots.
"The data shows that 93% of those who have died were over 60. We still have a room to make a difference here and better protect ourselves," the Prime Minister said.
A campaign to vaccinate teachers and other staff at schools could start as early as next week. Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said kids will stay in the classroom for now but the option of switching to on-line learning remains open should things get markedly worse.
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