Health Minister Chris Fearne has dismissed a warning by the Malta Union for Nurses and Midwives (MUMN) that Mater Dei is in “severe crisis” because of COVID-19 positive patients spread across all wards.
“There was a time when we had 40 COVID-19 cases in ITU and we were managing to keep things under control then. Right now there are four cases in ITU,” Fearne said on ONE TV’s Pjazza this evening.
“I thank all the hospital staff for their work but the situation is under control and the vast majority of people who have been hospitalised with COVID-19 aren’t there because of the virus.”
“If someone breaks his foot after falling off a ladder and tests positive for COVID-19 upon admission to hospital, he will be included among the numbers as a COVID-19 case.”
He said that these incidental cases amount to around two-thirds of Mater Dei’s COVID-19 patients.
“We must be cautious and look at the numbers but the situation is under control and there’s no need to spread alarm.”
The MUMN warned that the current situation poses a high risk of cross-infection to patients receiving hospital treatment and is exacerbating the nurse shortage problem.
The Union urged the Health Ministry to reduce non-essential surgeries and “start acting responsibly”.
Besides confirming that the next stage of Malta’s COVID-19 exit strategy remains on track, Fearne appealed for “personal responsibility” when discussing the upcoming legalisation of self-testing kits.
He said that while the health authorities had delayed this move because they wanted to have visibility of all tests, therefore allowing them to ascertain people are following quarantine, they have now decided to legalise self-testing kits.
“The Medicines Authority will issue guidelines, and while we still encourage people to report the cases, it will be the responsibility of the individual.”
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