The temporary field hospital at Prague Exhibition Center in Letňany was meant to care for any overflow of patients suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms. One month later, not one single patient has been admitted, Česká televize reports.
The lease of the space has so far cost 26 million CZK. The contract expires at the end of November, but the Ministry of Health still has to decide whether or not to extend it.
The 500-bed hospital was constructed by the Czech Army in October, as a hurried response to the rapidly rising number of Covid-19 cases. Interior Minister Jan Hamacek organised the construction, while Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said it was necessary to build extra capacity amid predicitons that Prague’s healthcare system would be overwhelmed. The state also purchased 4,000 beds from hospital and nursing bed maker LINET.
Bulovka Hospital, which is responsible for the field hospital’s operation, is waiting for the Ministry’s decision. “The hospital has not been activated yet and the epidemiological development does not even suggest that it should be any different,” hospital spokeswoman Mirka Kátriková said to Novinky.cz.
The main part of the hospital has ten separate section, each with 50 beds. They also have laboratories, X-ray capacity, and CAT scanners, as well as decontamination units for the medical staff.
However, since October 25, when the facility was completed, the Czech Republic has moved from an exponential growth of the COVID-19 cases to a steady decline.
According to Česká televize, however, the Czech branch of the Red Cross uses the premises and trains soldiers to help nurses in hospitals and social facilities. They learn to position patients on the bed, serve food, or help with personal hygiene. About 500 people are to be trained there over the course of ten days.
The Head of the Central Crisis Staff, Jan Hamáček (CSSD) has distanced himself from commenting on the future of the hospital. “It’s a contractual relationship between the Ministry of Health and the landlord, (the Czech billionaire Pavel Sehnal). We didn’t deal with it at the Central Crisis Staff,” said Hamáček.
For the current lease, which lasts from mid-October to November 30, Sehnal’s company ABF collected 20.5 million CZK without VAT. He had previously told Novinky.cz that this was the lowest possible price, which may not even cover operating costs.