There are patients with COVID-19 in 15 separate wards of the National University Hospital in Reykjavík, RÚV reports. There are currently 54 patients in the hospital with active COVID-19 infections, four of them in the intensive care unit and 3 of those four on a respirator. Of the hospital’s staff, 222 are in isolation due to COVID-19. The hospital is in emergency phase, currently maintaining mandatory mask use and banning all visitors.
It’s been ten days since Iceland lifted all domestic restrictions due to COVID-19 and all pandemic travel restrictions at its borders. Of its population of around 370,000, the country has reported 140,929 confirmed infections, but the country’s Chief Epidemiologist has stated that as much as 70% of the population may have already had COVID-19. While infection rates are high compared to earlier in the pandemic, rates of serious illness and hospitalisation remain much lower than in previous waves. These rates are, nevertheless, placing strain on hospital services.
The National Hospital’s Epidemiological Committee says the widespread cases reflect high rates of infection outside the hospital’s walls. It has encouraged the public not to call wards directly for information on COVID-19 response measures, but to rather contact them through the Heilsuvera web chat, due to strain on the phone lines.
Some of the 54 patients currently in hospital with active COVID-19 infections were initially hospitalised for a different reason. On February 28, there were 42 inpatients with COVID-19 at the National Hospital: 15 had been hospitalised due to the infection and 21 for other reasons. In the remaining 6 cases, it was uncertain whether COVID-19 or another factor was the cause of hospitalisation. The average age of COVID-19 inpatients at the hospital is 67.