MOSCOW (Reuters) – Moscow authorities are vacating hundreds of places in city hospitals for people infected with the coronavirus in response to a sharp increase in the number of cases and after the main coronavirus clinics ran out of places, four medical sources told Reuters.
In the spring, at the height of the epidemic, dozens of hospitals in Moscow were given over for coronavirus treatment, but then most of them returned to routine work when the infection subsided in the summer. Now some of them are fully or partially returning to work with covid, they told Reuters.
“This is a real big second wave,” a doctor at Kommunarka hospital, one of Moscow's top coronavirus clinics, told Reuters.
After a record number of coronavirus patients were admitted to the hospital on Thursday, it was 120% full of its normal capacity, he said.
On Friday, the Russian operations headquarters reported 7,212 new infections nationwide, the highest since June 23. In Moscow, their number increased by almost 50% compared to the previous day, reaching 1.560.
On Friday, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin recommended that companies operating in the city transfer as many employees as possible to a remote mode of work, starting on Monday, and people over 65 should not leave their homes unnecessarily.
Another of Moscow's key coronavirus clinics, Hospital 52, was 98% full as of Thursday evening, and there were no vacancies in intensive care units, one of its employees told Reuters.
The hospital only recently opened one of its buildings for routine work, but has been instructed to fully return to coronavirus treatment by Monday.
The growth of cases in Moscow accelerated after schools opened in Russia on September 1, and the daily number of new infections has more than doubled since the end of August.
At least two more Moscow clinics, the hospital. Inozemtsev and Spasokukotsky Hospital No. 50 are resuming admission to patients with coronavirus, three sources in Moscow hospitals told Reuters.
“This weekend we have to open (for the coronavirus),” said the doctor of one of them, adding that only part of the institution will be allocated for patients with covid.
More than 500 beds will be allocated in these two hospitals for patients with coronavirus, according to the order of the Moscow health department, which Reuters reviewed.
Anastasia Rakova, Moscow's deputy mayor for social development, said the demand for additional seats would be covered by “reserve capacity.”
“We are working to ensure that there is always sufficient bed capacity,” she said in a written commentary to reporters.
“To do this, we begin to introduce reserve capacities that were mothballed and reserved specifically for infections and were not used to provide other types of medical care, as well as facilities that were used as observers.”
(With the participation of Polina Nikolskaya and Anton Zverev. Editor Gleb Stolyarov)