Photo: MARIA SIMIRIS/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Algarve hospitals resume surgeries as number of Covid cases drops

The Algarve’s state-run hospitals are resuming all surgeries following the decreasing number of patients hospitalised due to Covid-19 in the region.

“Right now, all surgery units are working again, so surgical activity is resuming,” Ana Castro, who heads the administration board of the Algarve’s University Hospital Centre (CHUA), told reporters on Wednesday during a visit to Faro Hospital’s new cardiology ward.

The region’s public hospitals are also resuming in-person medical appointments, which had been “slightly reduced” since the start of the latest lockdown.

In other words, hospitals are trying to return to their normal activity after a government order was issued on January 13 suspending all non-urgent surgeries in a bid to increase their response to Covid-19 patients.

The decline in the number of Covid-19 cases has also led health authorities in the Algarve to close Portimão’s field hospital, which in just over a month received 170 patients, most of whom were transferred from hospitals outside of the Algarve (click here). The decision was made after the region’s Covid-19 infirmary units dropped to just 60% of their capacity.

Ana Castro stresses that urgent surgeries continued to be carried out throughout the lockdown, as the government order did not mention the suspension of “urgent or high-priority surgeries” nor did it apply to hospitals such as Portugal’s IPO cancer hospital.

“Patients whose priority level was considered to be normal have had to wait some more time,” the administration board boss admitted.

Castro’s statements came during a visit to Faro Hospital’s revamped cardiology unit, which has received €500,000-worth of renovations.

The unit’s electrophysiology section has been expanded, while new echocardiography and recovery rooms were added.

The unit now features six intensive care beds, 15 infirmary beds and four recovery beds.

Meanwhile, Castro also commented on the need to build a new hospital in the region, stating that it would offer additional support to the existing facilities.

But until that day comes, and it may well be a while before it does (click here), “we have to treat our patients at this (Faro) hospital. Thus, for as long as this is our reality, it has to be improved,” she added.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com