Donetsk red zone: how COVID-19 patients are treated in frontline town

Donetsk red zone: how COVID-19 patients are treated in frontline town

November 12, 2020 15:26

Donetsk, Nov 12 – DAN. Donetsk People’s Republic medics encountered COVID-19 as the first coronavirus infection case was diagnosed on March 31. From that time on, doctors in the region where civil war had been ranging for six years began a new fight against the enemy that can kill as many people in a day as drawn-out clashes on the contact line.

According to the DPR Healthcare Ministry latest reports, there some 40 COVID-19 treatment centres in the Republic employing about 3,000 medical personnel.  Donetsk News Agency correspondents entered the COVID-19 red zone at the Donetsk Regional Clinical Territorial Medical Association (DoKTMO).

DoKTMO’s IT, surgery, thoracic, pulmonary and otolaryngologic departments have 130 beds for COVID-19 patients.  The departments never stop providing treatment in their respective specialties.

For example, the surgery section is divided into the “red” and “clean” zones. The red zone accommodates COVID-19 patients. Two doctors and four nurses do 24-hour shift work there starting at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Doctors in the red zone are replaced every four hours with their colleagues from the “clean” zone.” One of them examines patients, adjusts the treatment procedure and oxygen flow and receives new patients while their colleague does the paper work and monitors test results. They practically have no time to rest during the 24-hour shift; you can  imagine how tired they get,” DoKTMO Surgery Department deputy head Denis Stupachenko told the DAN correspondents.

To enter the red zone a doctor puts on medical coveralls with a hood, a white coat, shoe protectors, a pair of gloves, a mask and a face shield.

The surgery currently has about 25 beds. Nearly all of them are occupied.  It has patients who need oxygen support without mechanical ventilation. Fifteen beds are allocated for serious COVID-19 cases where artificial ventilation is a must.

“We’ve recently got much-needed equipment from Russia which is already in active use. We are thankful for these gifts as they are very helpful to patients,” Stupachenko said.

The treatment can last up to three week and is standard: intiially, patients with COVID-19 get antiviral drugs such as arbidol. Then they get blood thinners, hormonal drugs, vitamins, oxygen support and antibiotics (in certian cases).

Most of the patients are over 60, but some are under 40 years of age.

After doing a four-hour shift in the red zone, doctors leave it through a special chamber where they take off the protective gear and put it in the container with liquid disinfectant. They must clean their faces and hands before continuing their duty in the “clean” zone. They can have a brief lunch break there. After four hours they return to the red zone.

Latest reports said that the DPR currently has 8,198 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 3,595 patients are receiving treatment, 3,879 people have recovered and 724 have died. On Wednesday, 20 patients died due to COVID-19 in the DPR. *jk