Georgia and coronavirus – how the Ministry of Health is fighting the spread of COVID-19
15 people have become infected with coronavirus in Georgia, though only one is in serious condition. The situation is currently considered to be under control, and the Ministry of Health is not particularly burdened by the workload. But how effective will it be if the virus spreads? Will the country be able to support the hospitalization of all those infected?
Around 200 Georgian citizens have been transported from Rome to Tbilisi today on two charter flights: it is possible that some of them are infected with coronavirus.
Amiran Gamkrelidze, director of the National Center for Disease Control, does not rule out the possibility that the number of COVID-19 cases will increase: “We are part of a global community. I cannot promise that there will only be 15 cases of coronavirus. The number is likely to increase. We need to double down on our preparation efforts.”
What preparation efforts are being made?
Medical tents have been set up at all land checkpoints on the Georgian border and at all three airports, where people who have arrived from countries that the World Health Organization (WHO) has placed on the high-risk list will be held before being sent to special medical centers.
Quarantine zones have been established in the cities of Sachkhere, Abastumani, Tbilisi and Zugdidi. The Tbilisi Central Republican Hospital, with a capacity of 88 people, has also been converted into a quarantine area.
The Lugar Laboratory has 3,000 coronavirus test kits. They will soon be able to test for COVID-19 at the Tbilisi Infectious Disease Hospital, as well as in the Batumi and Kutaisi branches of the Lugar Laboratory. It is worth noting that the coronavirus tet can only be conducted under doctor supervision and only for high-risk patients. Deputy Director of the Center for Disease Control Paata Imnadze claims that all supplies needed to test for the COVID-19 virus are constantly replenished.
The Vakhtang Bochorishvili Clinic and Infectious Diseases Center is ready to receive patients infected with coronavirus, and a tuberculosis treatment center has also been converted for this purpose.
There are 20,000 active doctors in Georgia, 150 of which are licensed infectious disease specialists.
•a total of 16,000 hospital beds
•of them, more than 500 are for infectious disease patients
•1368 resuscitation beds
•986 intensive care units
•20 ward rooms
•2000 artificial respirators
In severe cases of COVID-19, after pneumonia develops, it is almost impossible to save a patient without using an artificial respirator. At this stage, treatment of all coronavirus patients is funded by the state.
The government has created a special website stopcov.ge, which is publicly available, where you can find comprehensive information on measures taken by the state, as well as Ministry of Health recommendations for reducing the risk of contracting coronavirus. The website includes an FAQ section and the data is updated daily at 21:30.
The Ministry of Health says that symptoms of coronavirus include fatigue and dry cough. Some patients complain of body pain, diarrhea, and cold-like symptoms. But some carriers show no symptoms whatsoever. Most of those infected (approximately 80%) do not require specialized medical care.
Serious complications are reported in about out of every six cases. Those at high risk include the elderly and those with chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes.