Poland plans to increase Covid beds in line with rising infection rate

Kraska said that nationwide, the number of Covid beds would be doubled. Andrzej Lange/PAP

The number of hospital beds available in Poland for Covid-19 patients will be "systematically increased" and patients whose lives are in danger will not be moved to other facilities, a deputy health minister said on Tuesday.

Waldemar Kraska told the Polsat News private TV station that the rising infection rate, "is being maintained quite clearly and at quite a high level." The growing trend is dominated by three provinces, the eastern Lubelskie, central Mazowieckie and eastern Podlaskie, as a result of which the number of hospitalisations in those provinces is also on the rise.

"The situation in these provinces is getting serious, but.... we are systematically increasing the number of beds," Kraska said.

"We have introduced a principle... that if a patient reaches a surgical ward with appendicitis, for example, and he has Covid confirmed, he will remain in that hospital," the deputy minister explained. "Hospitals get extra money from the NFZ (National Health Fund- PAP) for such patients. We don't want to send such patients away. A patient in a life-threatening condition should be treated in the hospital he arrived at in the beginning."

Kraska went on to point out that two further temporary hospital would be opened in the Mazowiecki province in the coming days: one in Ostrołęka near Warsaw and the other in Warsaw's western Okęcie district. A further 62 beds will be made available for Covid patients at Warsaw's infectious diseases hospital.

The Okęcie facility has about 170 beds and 31 ventilators, he said, adding that the Ministry of Health has also given the go-ahead for a temporary hospital in the western city of Poznan.

Kraska said that nationwide, the number of Covid beds would be doubled.

"At the moment we have about 10,000 beds earmarked for Covid-19 patients, including 1,500 in temporary hospitals," he said. "In the coming days we want to double that number, so by another 10,000 Covid beds, including a further 1,500 in temporary hospitals."

Kraska also said the infectiousness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is much greater than the previous wave in Poland, with its reproductive ratio, showing how many others an infected person transmits the disease to, currently standing at 1.41.