Following a sudden increase in detected coronavirus cases here on the islands, over this last month, while well-meaning, if sometimes ill informed, people argue about the virulence of coronavirus and its death rate, or their objections to masks, the government, conspiracy theories or whether we shouldn’t just let people die to keep businesses running; the increase in cases has tangibly led to a creeping growth in hospital admissions and, of particular concern, Canary Islands ICU admissions.
Having grown from 33% capacity last week, the number of patients requiring Intensive Care has continued to challenge medical professionals and healthcare resources. If infection rates were to continue as they have done recently, there will come a point when the health authorities will need to consider opening field hospitals. Here on the south of Gran Canaria one probable site under consideration is likely to be the ExpoMeloneras conference centre, in Maspalomas, at which a mass testing facility was briefly opened during the State of Emergency, though in the end not required as contagion levels were quickly brought under control. A potential site in the capital would be the Infecar convention centre. Nonetheless, even if such facilities were to become necessary, the limited number of ventilators in the archipelago could lead to triage situations and in the worst case, people not always getting the help they need, whether positive for coronavirus or not.
Canary Islands ICU beds, counting both public and private facilities, are now at 45% of their capacity with 214 patients currently requiring ICU, of which 45 (more than a fifth) are due to complications derived from having been infected with coronavirus, out of a total of 477 ICU bed spaces available.
Of the total number of Canary Islands ICU beds, 404 are in critical units connected to a respirator – currently 46% occupied with 186 admissions, 45 of them are people with coronavirus – and 73 ICU beds are in critical units without a respirator – 38% occupied with 28 admissions, none of these are covid patients.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, up until 5:00 p.m. on September 3, 3,681 people are currently admitted to general hospital beds (not ICUs) in various centers around the archipelago, 116 of them with coronavirus, the total admissions now represents 70.6% of the 5,215 hospital beds available, across both public and private facilities.
The Doctor Negrín University Hospital Complex of Gran Canaria, in Las Palmas, is caring for 100 people who have been admitted for coronavirus, 21 of them in the ICU on a respirator and 79 on the ward; the Hospital Universitario Insular-Materno Infantil is now caring for 47, 10 in the ICU with a respirator and 39 on the ward. These are the Canarian hospitals with the most covid19 patients and whose ICU capacities (counting all admissions, not only with coronavirus) stands at 82% full and 40%, respectively.
The Nuestra Señora de Candelaria University Hospital on Tenerife currently has 31 patients with coronavirus -9 in the ICU on a respirator and 22 on the ward; the Hospital Doctor José Molina Orosa on Lanzarote have 13 corona patients admitted – one in the ICU and 12 on the ward; and the Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Canarias also on Tenerife, currently has 7 admissions for covid – two in the ICU on a respirator and five on the ward.