• Latest coronavirus figures released on Tuesday afternoon record a further 1850 cases in the Valencian Community and 42 deaths.

Pressure continues to mount on healthcare at the Torrevieja University Hospital as nine patients are currently being treated for Covid in Intensive Care while a further 46 are suffering from moderate symptoms on the wards.

The nine who require assisted respiration in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are all seriously ill. It is understood that most of those in a serious condition have been admitted from two nursing homes for the elderly in the health area where outbreaks have been registered.

Under normal conditions the Intensive Care unit has 14 beds but it has recently been increased to 20, according to hospital sources.

The situation is close to that experienced in March-April when there were more than sixty patients on the ward and in the ICU.

The numbers have been growing continuously since the beginning of October when the hospital only registered six patients with the virus.

All rooms in the hospital wards are still being used for individual patients although staff say that they are ready to double up the rooms, as they did during the worst period of the first wave, should the need apply.

If the hospital is forced to introduce more resources and beds to expand the ICU, there will be the question of whether or not it can maintain the routine activity of the operating theatres because, in order to increase the number of beds it would be necessary to use resources from the surgical department.

Furthermore, any local increase in the number of cases would make it implausible for the hospital to accept patients transferred from the Vega Baja Hospital in Orihuela which is currently being criticised for referring them to more distant hospitals in the Marina Baixa and Alicante.

However, the Torrevieja coastal area continues to be one of the regions with the least accumulated incidence in proportion to the size of its population throughout the whole of the Valencian Community.

In Orihuela, the number of infections numbers 1,598 (216 in the last two weeks) and 23 deaths; while in Torrevieja there have been 1,013 cases, but only 50 in the last fortnight, although the death toll is the highest in the region, up to 45; in part, due to the outbreak that emerged in the Case Verde Care Home in Pilar de la Horadada last October.

The rest of the municipalities of the Vega Baja with a significant number of infections include Callosa de Segura, the third largest number of positives, with 476 (109 this month) and five deaths. While in Almoradí there have been 466 (almost a third in the last fifteen days) and three deaths.

In Pilar de la Horadada, the third largest municipality in population, there have been 355 cases, 39 of them this month and 16 deaths. Guardamar del Segura also has very positive figures, despite being a largely tourist population, with only 150 cases reported (16 this month), although there have been eight deaths).

Rojales has had 110 cases of the virus, 26 of them in November, and two deaths. In Dolores there have been 155 positives since the pandemic began, 45 of them (almost 30%) in the last two weeks and six deceased. Cox has had 115 infected, 11 of them in November and two deaths, while Catral has a very low number: just 79 infections, thirteen of them in the last two weeks and one deceased.

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