With this new wave of the pandemic grew the demand on prehospital and emergency services, but, unlike the previous ones, it is being mainly due to symptoms, such as fever and sore throat, which are being served through teleconsultations with a professional and phone follow-up, according to what referents of these benefits in the public and private sectors coincide so far. In the case of tests for Covid at home, there are coverages that are reporting delays of up to 96 hours.
A week ago, the chamber that represents emergency and home care companies warned about a sharp increase in calls from users who wanted to speak to an operator due to symptoms such as fever or sore throat. The Federation of Chambers of Medical Emergencies and Home Medicine (FEM) warned about delays because the abrupt rise in infections in the country had triggered 200% more telephone inquiries compared to the last two weeks of 2020 and the first of 2021.
Faced with this and the Work absenteeism due to infections and quarantines of close contacts, the delays in the attention appeared and, also, the claims. This week, as it became known, one of the main emergency care companies with a presence in several provinces reached a reduction of 37% of its personnel due to Covid. With the modification of the quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts announced yesterday by the Ministry of Health of the Nation, it will seek to stop the impact of this new wave on the health system.
“In contexts of high demand such as the current one, it is very important to respect the responsible use of the urgencies and emergencies system, and to use the life risk contact lines only for that purpose and not to request other services or make claims,” he told this medium Silvio Aguilera placeholder image, emergentologist and medical advisor to the FEM.
At SAME Attention also grew through the telemedicine service that it inaugurated in the middle of last year. Alberto Crescenti, director of the Buenos Aires emergency service, pointed it out as the main difference with the previous waves of infections. The departures with the ambulances are for collisions with injured people on public roads and non-Covid emergency assistance.
“We do not have patients with respiratory distress or the search for beds for hospitalization at other times,” he described. The demand we have is for telemedicine: called for symptoms more associated with infections by [la variante] omicron, which, fortunately, has a less pathological form of presentation than delta.”
In the Buenos Aires province, what increased are swab orders. “We are collaborating with the itinerant posts. The demand for tests is very high, especially on the coast ”, he explained. Hector Canales, Director of Emergencies of the province of Buenos Aires.
As pointed out by his Buenos Aires counterpart, in the previous waves they had to attend a large number of patients. At this point in the epidemiological curve, cases with complications tend to be more exceptional so far in this new rise in the contagion curve. In this work with the teams of the test points, three days ago it was necessary to move from a central beach in Mar del Plata to a patient with respiratory distress and a positive result for Covid-19.
It is the crashes, overturns and distractions on the routes with high tourist traffic that are adding more work to them than the pandemic for this time of year, according to Canales.
In CordovaWhere the omicron outbreak anticipated the rest of the country, the increase in demand for swabs continues, which did not reach other services.
“Because of the magnitude of this third wave and because of the great community circulation that has [el virus], there is a bottleneck because the demand [de consultas por síntomas] it tripled or quadrupled and the health system is responding with delays in non-urgent cases. In addition, it is affected by the community circulation of the virus and there is a significant percentage of personnel who are infected, although now [esto] improved because the isolation for the close contacts was lifted ”, he evaluated Hannibal Feder, medical director of the firm Emergencias. “But health personnel are exhausted from Covid assistance and are 20-25% affected by infections in the community,” he continued.
Hospital, clinic and sanatorium personnel agree on the large number of patients who consult every day for symptoms and having been in contact with a positive. In home testing requests, the delay is days, while the laboratory, care and administrative teams cannot cope.
This past Monday, a couple, both over 60 years old, who had already had symptoms for four days, received a notice from the WhatsApp service of a social work for municipal employees: “Approximate delay of 96 hours to go home. Results, more than 48 hours ”, said the response to the request for home testing. And so the messages with personal experiences are multiplying these days.
Rachel Saban, 48, was tested at a Buenos Aires post on the first Monday of the year and the test was positive. Her son, 16, also contracted the virus, but resorted to the medical plan of the community hospital where they are usually treated. Both were isolated at home. When she called her coverage because no one had contacted to follow up on the cases, an employee told her that the offices were closed due to Covid cases and close contacts.
“There are 800 cases per day that are registered. There are no doctors who can follow up. We are not coping,” the employee confirmed. He read five symptoms, including dyspnea and other more serious ones, and told him that only if he had any, to go to the guard and notify him that he was Covid positive. “One day, last Tuesday, I felt very, very bad and that day there was an appointment with a doctor by video call just for January 27,” he recalled.
The response to patients is not unified. There are coverages, for example, that daily monitor their Covid affiliates in home isolation through an automated messaging system that must be responded to with options. If there is anything abnormal in the responses, a doctor is contacted. So, too, the patient is discharged.
“We discharged ourselves alone,” Saban said, on the other hand, more resigned.