Health Centre, Palma. | Ultima Hora

The rapid increase in Covid-19 infections amongst young people is threatening to overwhelm Health Centres in the Balearic Islands and it’s also putting those aged 60-69 at risk because most of them haven’t had their second jab.

Health Centre personnel are now taking care of vaccines, respiratory circuits, case tracking and follow-up and PCR tests in addition to seeing patients.

The increase in infections has come at a time when a number of Health workers are on holiday and although hospitals are not becoming overloaded, Primary Care is feeling the pressure and IB-Salut has once again reinforced the Can Valero Covid Centre which is expected to running at full capacity this week, which will help take the pressure off other centres.

The accumulated incidence rate in the Balearics rose to 184.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days yesterday and 640 cases per 100,000 amongst young people, which has sparked concern.

"Transmission has now moved from specific outbreaks to the community and it's uncontrolled, with no masks, no capacity limitation and no regulatory tools to contain the virus, only good will,” said Balearic Society of Family & Community Medicine President, Elena Muñoz.

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"Many of the cases are amongst young people who live at home, but you have to follow up with them and visit them which increases the pressure on Primary Care," she explains.

On Monday, 21 Health Professionals were infected and another 80 were isolated because they’d been in close contact with someone who'd tested positive.

"There is no fear on the Covid Wards or in the ICU at the moment, but this is the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Muñoz. "More than 85% of infections from previous waves have been treated via Primary Care and we are going to take care of the problem ourselves, but it’s not easy.”

A 20 year old man from Formentera was admitted to Can Misses Hospital at the weekend, but most young people who test positive are asymptomatic and rarely need to be hospitalised or treated in the ICU, they are usually treated at home and a follow-up is done by the local health centre.

"We already have new protocols in place because we must not forget that they can infect the elderly, even if they are vaccinated," warns Col·legi Oficial de Metges President, José Manuel Valverde. “There is a risk that the students can infect their parents, even if they’ve had both jabs, so they and their close contacts need to be tested. Primary Care is always on the brink and the moment there is something else that stresses it, it will overflow. We have gone from seeing practically no Covid patients for 15 days, to rearming the respiratory circuit."