Poland may need more ventilators for COVID-19 patients: report

Given the current growth of coronavirus cases, Poland will run out of ventilators in hospitals within the next 14 days, according to a mathematical model cited by the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily on Thursday. Government spokesperson Piotr Müller said that “for the time being, Poland’s healthcare system is efficient.”

Poland currently has just over 1,000 ventilators for coronavirus-infected patients, 467 of which are in use, the daily wrote. The analysis of how much time Poland has until these resources run out has been carried out by the University of Warsaw’s specialists who have been tracking the development of the pandemic.

Additionally, there are differences between Poland's provinces, with some of them being closer to maximum capacity than others. "The critical point may be delayed if the government supplies further ventilators, up to 11,000. However, hospital directors say it is not only equipment that may pose a problem as there are not enough specialists to oversee them when in use," the daily writes in its Thursday issue.

Although the Health Ministry wants to introduce training for nurses, hospital directors remain sceptical, arguing that their preparation may last for months, the daily adds.

These assumptions were countered by government spokesperson Piotr Müller who told Polish Radio on Thursday morning that “we are seeing what is currently going on in countries such as Spain or Italy. We approach the matter of bed and ventilator occupancy with a great deal of humility,” adding that “for the time being, Poland’s healthcare system is efficient.”

“If the forecast disease development models continue to grow, and everything indicates such a scenario, further decisions will be made regarding preventive measures today,” said the official, adding that “decisions with regard to more restrictions will be made around noon at the meeting of the Governmental Crisis Management Team.”

The spokesperson also said that PM Mateusz Morawiecki, who was suspected of having contracted COVID-19 and quarantined but then tested negative, was “feeling well.” “He has no coronavirus symptoms. He still remains quarantined in line with the regulations,” Mr Müller said, adding that “the decision to release the PM from quarantine is made by a sanitary inspector. I think [releasing him] is viable by the end of this week. The final decision has not been made yet. I think this would take place on the turn of Friday and Saturday or Sunday.”

The official also reassured that “the new restrictions will not restrain the economy to the same degree as they did in the Spring.”