City councilor Raymond Johansen demanded an answer to how much pressure the hospitals’ intensive care units really are. Now the Minister of Health answers, who believes it is important to maintain control in the current infection situation.
In recent days, the debate about the strict measures has stalled, and City Councilor Raymond Johansen (Labor Party) went out hard on Thursday and demanded answers about how much pressure the hospitals really are:
– Is the hospital capacity actually so pressured that we have to keep tens of thousands in an industry – restaurants and nightlife – away from their workplaces? he asked.
Thus, he joined the ranks of restaurant owners, cultural and athletes, Labor mayors and other politicians who have questioned measures the government introduced to curb the omicron infection before Christmas.
The debate is raging, and the criticism has especially been about the national bar stop. But Støre has decided that, despite pressure from other parties, it will remain until next week.
This is the development of admissions at Norwegian hospitals:
This is what Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol (Labor Party) says after City Councilor Johansen’s demand for an answer:
– I understand the frustration of Raymond Johansen and others who have lived with various forms of action over a long period of time. Unfortunately, the situation is still serious and characterized by uncertainty.
Via e-mail, she writes that the infection is increasing sharply in several places and that they expect more people to be infected with corona in the future since the omicron variant dominates.
– We want to keep control in such a situation, writes the Minister of Health.
– The entire health service is challenged
The Minister of Health states that GPs and emergency services in the municipalities have a high load and that the municipalities spend a lot of resources on testing, infection detection and vaccination.
– Raymond Johansen points to the intensive capacity, but it is the capacity in the entire health service that is challenged.
– High infection and illness in the population will lead to high sickness absence among employees in the health service, but also in other sectors. It can affect several socially critical functions.
In the last three days, Norway has registered the three highest infection rates so far in the pandemic. This is what the graph looks like now:
The Minister of Health explains that on Thursday they had meetings with state administrators and municipalities where several reported challenges. This also applies to Oslo.
– And this week, 172 municipalities reported to the Norwegian Directorate of Health that access to personnel and critical competence is challenging or critical. We take this seriously.
Big interview: This is how Støre defends the strict measures
Critical access to personnel
Earlier on Thursday, City Councilor Johansen asked questions about the capacity of the hospitals.
– Is it true that the capacity is 1,200 intensive care units and 4,500 hospital beds, as was announced before Christmas? said Johansen, referring to figures provided by division director Johan Torgersen in the Norwegian Directorate of Health The online newspaper.
In the article from December, the division director emphasizes that the estimate only applies for a short period, and that the supply of health personnel is also challenging.
– If that is the case, then we are in such a dramatic situation that we have to shut down when there are currently around 300 corona patients around the country and less than 100 in intensive care units.
He believed that there was no reason to claim that we were in a demanding situation that the whole country had to shut down if “so few places are occupied.”
In his reply, the Minister of Health points out that the health regions in March 2020 mapped that there are 289 ordinary intensive care beds.
– Recently, they have informed that it is realistic to be able to step up to 647 beds in the short term, but a proportion of these will be so-called intermediate places with a simpler facility and lower staffing than full-fledged intensive care units. Higher number of beds will lead to a lower standard than we have today. This is a situation we do not want to end up in.
She adds that they also can not take lightly that the hospitals have to postpone planned operations over several weeks to free up capacity for the intensive care patients.
Unclear about local measures
Johansen has also said that he will let the municipalities take over the management of the measures, including the bar ban.
This is how Kjerkol answers it:
– When it comes to local measures, this was how we handled the pandemic this autumn, but it turned out that there were several places where the measures did not come into place quickly enough. At the same time, there were several municipalities that wanted the state to come in and take greater responsibility.
She states that they will evaluate the measures on 14 January, and that this is something the Norwegian Directorate of Health and NIPH are working on now. She has previously announced that there will probably be adjustments.
– We will be in dialogue with both Raymond Johansen and other small and large municipalities to get their input. We will continue to seek to shield children and young people as much as possible, so that they can live as normally as possible.