After two months of lockdown, the so-called Coronavirus phase 2 has begun. The objective, in the face of the declining pandemic, is to create the conditions for a greater amount of re-opening.
Many questions still need to be answered and surely will be in the next few days, but an initial analysis is possible.
The current state of healthcare
First of all, a fundamental distinction must be made. A separation will remain between Covid and No-Covid hospitals. All public and private hospitals will continue to follow very specific rules for entrance. Access to no-Covid hospitals, regulated by triage, will continue to follow security protocols in order to avoid entrance by patients previously exposed to the virus. It is difficult to foresee how and when healthcare activities that until now have been considered “postponable” can resume.
In order to support healthcare services and reinforce Covid hospitals, there should be an increase in funds to over 3 billion, instead of the 2.5 billion that was originally foreseen.
After 60 days of self-isolation, phase 2 reminds us of the importance of often washing our hands. WHO reaffirms that washing hands can save lives. In order to contain the spread of Coronavirus, as of May 4, 2020, it is mandatory throughout all of Italy to use respiratory protection in closed, public spaces or on any occasion that the minimum safety distance cannot be kept.
Services for fragile people during Coronavirus
In theory, the Ministry of Health guarantees that the following support services will be available throughout Italy:
- Home-delivery of medication can be requested by calling the toll-free number 800 06 55 10, available 24-7. Red Cross volunteers will pick up prescriptions from medical offices, or receive the NRE number and fiscal code of the person requesting the service, and go to the pharmacy for them. Medications will be delivered in a sealed bag to the recipient, who will then reimburse the volunteer for the amount paid in advance to the pharmacy. There is no charge for this service. Invoices from the pharmacy can be requested for tax deductions.
- Home-delivery of groceries is for elderly people living alone or for people who are immune-depressed and can be requested by calling the toll-free number 800 06 55 10.
- Phone operators are also available to answer any questions about behaviors to follow and how to proceed in the case of close contact with Coronavirus positive subjects. The request of services includes the support of doctors, first for initial support over the phone, and then to activate hospital facilities. Psychological support is also available if needed during this time of emergency.
In the next few days, it will be possible to assess the effectiveness of these services.
One thing is certain, the Coronavirus state of emergency will remain in force for a long time. It is difficult to say when things will get back to normal in all sectors, especially in healthcare. Optimistically-speaking, however, hundreds of thousands of people all over Italy are dedicating their time and energy to tackling the problems that the most fragile people face in order to improve the quality of life of patients.
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