Coronavirus takes its toll on Romanian doctors with almost 5,600 cases, 28 deaths

Foto: INQUAM/George Călin

A total of 5,597 health professionals have contracted Covid-19 either from hospitals or retirement homes, the health union said Monday.

“We have an ageing and professionally exhausted health personnel,” the Health Solidarity federation said in a statement.

Overall, about 7% of all Romania’s coronavirus cases are healthcare personnel, such as medics, nurses and auxiliary staff.

The percentage is the same as in Italy and double what it is in China, Viorel Rotila, the federation director said.

Twenty-eight healthcare staff have died after contracting SARS-CoV-2, he said.

The latest was a 50-year-old nurse from Prahova died after contacting Covid-19 on Sunday.

On Monday, the Floreasca Emergency Hospital reported 15 Covid-19 infections among the staff.

Hospital spokesman Bogdan Oprita told Agerpres national news agency that a junior doctor, a stretcher-bearer, and nurses and medical assistants had the novel coronavirus.

One section was closed for emergency surgery, due to the infections, he said.

 Romania spends less on health care than any other European Union member and has the  highest mortality rate from treatable diseases and one of the bloc’s lowest life expectancies. The government has built one new hospital since communism ended in 1989.

Thousands of doctors have emigrated in recent years for better paid jobs, and the system is plagued by corruption.

Why does such a situation arise in all these countries? Rotila said.”It’s fairly simple. There’s a high probability of infected patients going to a health unit. Hospitals don’t have the space for this infection or pandemic and they didn’t prepare spaces,” he said referring to treatment of the highly contagious virus.

„Romania’s health personnel is ageing and professionally worn out.”

He said that healthcare staff more frequently suffered from severe forms of the virus because of a high viral dose.

“Another explanation is that they come into contact with the virus many times and that means a higher dosage,” infectious diseases doctor Adrian Marinescu said.


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