19:54 / 19.01.2022.

Author: Katja Miličić

Croatia reports over 10 thousand daily COVID cases

Covid cases hit new record

Covid cases hit new record

Foto: Dnevnik / HRT

Croatia has reported more than 10 thousand new Covid cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic. 

The number of new cases today was 10 thousand 427, based on PCR testing alone. Another 5,500 people out of 22 thousand tested were positive on the rapid antigen test. Public health authorities reported 45 died as a result of complications due to COVID in the past 24 hours. Hospitals are treating 1 thousand 796 patients, 204 of whom are on ventilators.

Split-Dalmatia County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. The head of Split Clinical Hospital, Dr. Julie Meštrović, says the county is now paying the price for this failure. Furthermore, the hospital is struggling with a high number of cases among staff, including 70 nurses who are out sick. Although, Dr. Meštrović says he's encouraged by the fact the number of COVID patients at his hospital has fallen in recent days, epidemiologists are being cautious with any kind of predictions.

"This morning, we have fewer patients, which is good. Yesterday we had 224, now we have 210. Fewer of them are on ventilators as well. That's a good sign but it's still a high number. Again, older unvaccinated people are the most vulnerable group that we are treating here at Split Hospital,” said Dr. Meštrović in an interview with HRT.

Dr. Sanja Kurečić Filipović, an epidemiologist at the Croatian Public Health Bureau, was reluctant to predict where the curve was headed.

"Testing may not have covered all of the people that needed it, so it is difficult to judge on the basis of the numbers for just a few days. Let's wait and see how things develop. However, we are seeing an increase,” she said.

Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said Wednesday that about 120 schools could be switching to online classes as more and more students test positive for COVID. His assessment is based on information coming from the local level, where decisions on remote schooling are made, depending on the COVID situation. Despite rising infection rates, he says Croatia should try to keep schools open.

"All other European countries are keeping schools open as much as possible. Today, we also heard that Israel, which was among the first to implement a very strict lockdown much like Australia, has changed its policy and said schools must stay open. Our first priority is to protect our future generations. Everybody else, should protect themselves. We cannot gamble with the education of our youth," said Fuchs.

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