18:33 / 20.10.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

New COVID cases hit new high for the year



Foto: Patrik Macek/Igor Kralj/Milan Sabic/Zeljko Lukunic / PIXSELL/Shutterstock

Croatia's COVID-19 cases spiked on Wednesday, hitting 3,162 new infections, a new high for the year.

The test positivity rate was nearly 30%. The last time cases were in the 3,000 per day range was in April of 2021. Another 23 people have died of COVID-19.

Health Minister Vili Beroš tweeted that the latest spike in cases was of great concern but did not come as a surprise. The main reason for the leap, Beroš said, was too few people are vaccinated.

Interest in the vaccine remains below expected levels. Health care experts continue to urge the public to get their shots. With this in mind, the COVID task force is considering broadening the requirement of COVID-19 digital certificates to include more activities and venues. Dr. Irena Pavić Šimetin, from the Croatian Public Health Bureau, says the certificates are a very useful and easy to use tool that allows certain activities to continue that would otherwise have to be shut down because of the risk of infection.

Locally, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County was a rapid increase in cases, 324 new infections on Wednesday. Dr. Alen Ružić, the head of Rijeka Clinical Hospital, reports his hospital is treating 62 patients, six of whom are on ventilators.

"That number has been hovering at around 60 patients. We've opened additional beds and turned our infectious diseases wing into a COVID clinic,” he said.

The mass vaccination site at the Zagreb Fairgrounds was offering the third shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Wednesday. This dose is available for people who may not have developed an adequate level of protection from the first two doses or people who were vaccinated early on and their protection may be waning. It is recommended for everyone over 65, health care workers, and people with compromised immune systems. The first dose of all the vaccines was also available. Interest in the third dose or booster shot is much higher than for the first dose. Health care workers at the site said they would prefer if it was the other way around.

In related news, a COVID-positive patient fled the Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb and died the next day at a home in the Smobor area on Tuesday. The patient had been hooked up to an oxygen tank at the hospital. An ambulance was called to the residence but the 53-year-old showed no signs of life. Emergency workers were unable to revive him. His mother confirmed that her son had escaped from the hospital on his own.

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