Lebanon’s Main COVID-19 Hospital Nears Capacity
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanon’s main coronavirus hospital is on the verge of reaching full capacity in its critical care ward, the hospital’s head Firass Abiad indicated Tuesday.
Abiad wrote in a tweet that 19 of the 23 critical care beds in Rafik Hariri University Hospital are currently occupied. The hospital also has 80 beds for patients who either tested positive or are suspected to be carrying the virus. Fifty-five of those are currently occupied.
Local newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Tuesday that the hospital told the Lebanese Red Cross that it had reached its maximum capacity and that it could not take any more COVID-19 patients.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has increased sharply since the beginning of July, when there were 25 patients hospitalized, and eight in intensive care. By Aug. 3 there were 158 patients receiving treatment in hospitals, and 40 more in intensive care.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab's health adviser Petra Khoury indicated on July 25 that the country's maximum capacity to treat patients in intensive care will be reached by mid-August.
According to Khoury, it currently takes 20 days for the total number of infections in Lebanon to double. This is 2.1 times faster than the global average of 41 days.
The proportion of active COVID-19 cases relative to recoveries and deaths in Lebanon is also above the global average, according to Fatima Al-Sayah, a public health researcher at the University of Alberta.
Around 63 percent of the total recorded COVID-19 cases in Lebanon are currently active, compared to 33.3 percent worldwide.
A larger proportion of active cases makes a potential overload of the health system more likely.
The cumulative number of cases stood at 5,062 Monday.
This latest blow to Lebanon's public health system comes as restaurants and cafes opened once again Tuesday at 50 percent capacity after a five-day lockdown. The usual queues of people outside banks also returned to the capital's streets after the government allowed them to resume their operations. These businesses will stay open for just two days, and on Thursday Lebanon will go into another five day lockdown until Monday evening.