Pandemic Confessions: COVID-19 in Romania
Published on Apr 13, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.
The COVID-19 virus is having an unprecedented impact on the entire globe—including Romania. To tackle this pandemic, it is going to take effort from Romanian medical professionals and citizens alike. In today’s COVID-19 Stories from Around the Globe post, read Dr. Viviana Popa and Dr. Anca-Elena Stefan’s update on Romania’s response to COVID-19 and their suggestions on how you can help prevent the spread of the virus.
We are living in times no health care professional in any country could have anticipated. Healthcare systems all around the world—including the one in our home country of Romania—are faced with a sudden need to adapt to the new status quo. Luckily, in this day and age, information spreads even quicker than the virus, and the medical research community around the world brings new information each day. Whether it refers to the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, diagnostic tests available or in the works, or countless treatment options that have been tested (some of which seem to have worked), all of this information is making a tremendous difference in how we deal with a pandemic in 2020.
Think about a similar situation happening in the 1920s: the Spanish flu. The fatality rate was much higher back then. This was mostly because people didn’t have the necessary technology to learn about how the disease presents, how to treat it, and—most importantly—how to prevent its spread. Prevention is still the cornerstone of limiting the Coronavirus spread; this is true in Romania, like in many other countries.
At the end of the day, respecting the quarantine and self-isolation principles are the only measures that have been proven to work. In areas like Hong Kong, they managed to limit the spread of the disease solely by doing this.
How is Romania adapting?
As far as healthcare practices go, the hospitals in Romania are constantly trying to adjust to the new situation, so a couple of additional measures have been taken. This includes creating designated hospitals for treating solely COVID-19 cases and preparing neighboring hospitals to receive cases from other hospitals, if needed.
For example, while in 2018, pneumonia cases might have been treated at the Infectious diseases hospital, now the Pulmonology or Internal Medicine wards in other hospitals have made the necessary adjustments to treat pneumonia cases there so that the Infectious diseases hospital can manage solely COVID-19 cases. Other measures include limiting hospital admissions to medical emergencies and time-sensitive consults.
All of these measures are trying to target 3 key aspects:
Make sure that all patients with COVID-19 or other ailments are receiving the best care possible.
Limit the spread of the infection to medical personnel.
Minimize the community spread of the infection.
What can Romanian citizens do?
Romanian doctors can only do so much, and flattening the COVID-19 curve is in the hands of the community. Our main advice to people from Romania—and from all over the world for that matter—is to understand how important it is to stay home as much as possible and always be honest with healthcare professionals when it comes to risk factors for having contacted the infection. It might sound difficult, and surely we all miss the good old days when we could hang out with friends over coffee at our favorite place, but the only way we can get back to those good old days as soon as possible is to make sure we do a few things:
Limit contact with other people
Wash our hands as often and as thoroughly as we can
Disinfect commonly-used surfaces regularly
Perhaps all of us need to slow down and take it easy in the comfort of our homes for the next couple of weeks to make sure that the disease doesn’t spread to the ones most susceptible to developing severe forms and fatal complications – like people with cardiovascular conditions (such as hypertension), metabolic disorders (like diabetes), or other medical conditions that may affect the immune system’s ability to fight back. Unfortunately, our seniors commonly have one, if not many, of these conditions. So the best way to ensure that they’re protected from the disease is to urge everyone—including the youth—to stay indoors.
For most viruses, not only COVID-19, prevention is key. So stay home, stay safe, and healthcare professionals will be just as happy as the rest of the world to be able to partake in joyous moments with their loved ones—when all of this has finally simmered down.
About Dr. Popa & Dr. Stefan
Dr. Viviana Popa is a first-year Endocrinology resident at Sfantul Spiridon hospital in Iași, Romania, and also a content reviewer for the Osmosis team. Her passion for hormones and how they control just about everything is matched solely by her passion for medical education, She also has a soft spot for embryology and genetics, which she hopes will translate into a flourishing medical research career in the future.
Dr. Anca-Elena Stefan is a first-year Nephrology resident at Parhon hospital in Iași, Romania, and also a script writer for the Osmosis team. A dedicated clinician, Anca’s passion for medicine stems from knowing that every day is a good day when you help make patients' lives better in any way possible. Knowing the intricate mechanisms behind each disease spurs Anca’s curiosity—she’s learning a little bit more each day!
We will be sharing more COVID-19 Stories from Around the World in the coming days. For more updates and an opportunity to pledge to #RaiseTheLine and earn 3 weeks of Osmosis Prime, check out our COVID-19 resource page.
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