Macedonian hospitals on verge of collapse as coronavirus cases go sky high


Hospitals in Macedonia remain overcrowded with Covid-19 patients, to the point of being forced to cut down on providing other essential medical services.

The “8th of September” hospital in Skopje, which handles the most serious coronavirus cases, has 130 patients – nine of them on mechanical ventilation. Hospital management recently desperately asked for help, saying that it is lacking qualified personnel as its staff is overworked and exhausted. The hospital even endured an armed attack, after the son of a woman who died of Covid-19 burst in armed and threatened the doctor who was taking care of the woman, demanding that the body is released without an autopsy.

The Infectious Diseases Clinic in Skopje’s Mother Teresa complex, which was the original main Covid-19 center, cares for additional 89 patients – more than half of them are receiving additional oxygen, but none are on mechanical ventilation. And the recently converted third clinic – Kozle – has 30 adult patients and five children. It is a children’s hospital specialized in respiratory diseases which was converted into a Covid-19 ward as the other two hospitals got overcrowded.

In Stip, the hospital has 40 patients and its manager announced that their infectious diseases ward is full. She said that the neurological diseases ward, which is next door, will be moved to make room for more Covid-19 patients. The general hospital in Bitola also has 37 Covid-19 patients, and nearly a 100 patients are dispersed in other, smaller hospitals, in Ohrid, Veles, Kumanovo, Prilep…

Macedonia is going through a major Second Wave of the epidemic, after widespread disregard for social distancing restrictions during the Muslim month of Ramadan. There are 3.583 active coronavirus cases, nearly 2,000 of them in the capital Skopje. The downtown, majority Muslim area of Skopje – Cair – where disregard for the restrictions was especially pronounced, has by far the highest concentration of Covid-19 cases with 424 active patients.