Italian doctor says overwhelmed hospitals are at 'complete saturation'

Italian doctor says overwhelmed hospitals are at ‘complete saturation’ and receiving new coronavirus patients every five minutes as death toll climbs 250 in a day to 1,266

  • Hospitals in Milan, Italy, are said to be at full ‘saturation’ due to coronavirus cases
  • Virus is predicted to be two weeks away from it’s peak in Italy by infection expert 
  • Sacco Hospital, Milan, one of the largest in Italy, searching for treatment spaces 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Hospitals in the Italian city of Milan are said to be at full ‘saturation’, a doctor has revealed – with the country’s coronavirus outbreak still predicted to be two weeks away from it’s peak.

Dr. Massimo Galli, head of the infectious disease unit at Sacco Hospital in Milan, said the facility has been accepting new patients every five minutes. 

His warning comes as Italian civil protection authorities said today that the number of infections has soared by more than 2,500 in 24 hours while virus-related deaths made the largest single-day jump of 250. 

That took the total number of infected in Italy to 17,660 and the number of related deaths to 1,266.

The virus, now classed as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, is predicted to get worse before it gets better by infectious disease experts as a peak in the number of patients with the virus in Italy is expected in two week’s time.

Dr. Massimo Galli told ABC News: ‘We are getting close to not being able to accept new patients. There is a complete saturation of beds.’

Professor Massimo Galli, primary infectologist of the hospital Luigi Sacco, says the hospital is at peak saturation

He added: ‘I think patients will increase for another week or two’. 

Dr Galli also detailed how the Sacco Hospital in Milan, which is one of the largest in Italy, has been accepting new patients every five minutes and was forced to search for additional buildings to use as treatment centres.   

The infection could continue to spread for up to four weeks, said Dr Galli. 

Italy’s coronavirus outbreak death toll jumped by 189 to 1,016 in 24 hours on Thursday, a rise of 23 per cent.

A view of the Sacco Hospital in Milan, northern Italy, 11 March, which is struggling to cope with the influx of patients infected with coronavirus

The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus, rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462, an increase of 21.7 per cent. That marked the biggest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion first came to light on February 21.

The Civil Protection Agency said that, of those originally infected, 1,258 had fully recovered compared to 1,045 the day before. Some 1,153 people were in intensive care against a previous 1,028.

Italian National Civil Protection set up three tents in front of the hospital of Tempio Pausania yesterday to accommodate possible coronavirus patients in Tempio Pausania, Sardinia

More than half of those who are in intensive care in Italy are located in hard-hit Lombardy province, which on Thursday reported 605 ICU patients in a region with only 610 ICU beds.

Hospitals in Lombardy are are overflowing with the dead. Lombardy’s top health care official, Giulio Gallera, said at the request of the hospitals, the region had simplified the bureaucracy needed to process death certificates and bury the dead.

Rome’s Catholic churches were ordered to close in a decree by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis on Thursday due to the pandemic – but were then reopened after Pope Francis said some measures were too ‘drastic’. 

Italian police officers wearing protective masks check motorists and pedestrians due to the coronavirus emergency in Rome

Italian police officers checking the self-certifications of three people in Piazza Duomo (Cathedral Square) in Milan

This comes as Italians with coronavirus symptoms could face murder charges if they venture outside despite the quarantine and cause a patient’s death.

Suspected virus patients have been ordered to stay indoors with a penalty of 206 euros (£182) over their heads – but they could face far graver charges if they infect someone on their travels.

The most severe charge of ‘malicious murder’ could lead to a prison sentence as long as 21 years, according to Italian media, while virus spreaders could still be charged with misconduct even if no-one is killed.

Closed bars and restaurants near Piazza Navona in Rome yesterday after Italy’s quarantine was tightened even further



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