Bucharest takes action – the Capital of Romania has mobilized to fight against the coronavirus and to support the most affected citizens
The public authorities are supported by the civil society and the private sector
Together we will succeed!
In Bucharest, the measures to prepare the reaction of the public institutions and after to treat the patients and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, were taken since February.
During the pandemic, the decisions in the Romanian Capital are taken through a committee where all the local institutions are represented and based on the day to day situation and taking into account the decisions approved at the national level.
Progressively, it was decided to temporary suspend the classes and the activity of public relations in the public institutions and to suspend public events, to close the malls, restaurants and other similar places, to instate working from home and to reduce the traffic.
At the same time, the municipal services prepared the hospitals, the spaces for quarantine, special measures for the medical personnel and vulnerable categories, for the tenants in the municipal houses and the investment environment were taken, special support to the students and professors was given by creating online learning platforms, disinfecting operations started to be carried out periodically in the public transportation vehicles and for the cleaning of the streets and also actions to contribute to the campaign of testing the population were established.
All the decisions were communicated to the public daily in order for the population to be informed about the situation in an unbiased manner and from an official source and other decisions were adopted gradually taking into account the evolution of the pandemic.
Hospitals and medical personnel come first
Bucharest City Hall through its specialized structure – Hospitals and Medical Services Administration Bucharest (ASSMB) is in charge of 19 hospitals. The other medical institutions are under the management of the Health Ministry or under private management.
Before the first case of coronavirus was confirmed (March 7, 2020), the health system prepared two specialized hospitals in infectious diseases to receive the future patients with COVID 19: a hospital managed by ASSMB (Victor Babeș Hospital) and a hospital managed by the Health Ministry (Institute Matei Balș).
Afterwards, other hospitals managed by the City Hall were fitted to receive patients with COVID 19: Colentina Hospital, initially was designated as a support hospital and Bucur Maternity Hospital to treat separately the future mothers suspected of contracting the disease.
Victor Babes Hospital for infectious and tropical diseases has at this time 400 beds for the patients with COVID-19, from these 400 beds, 60 beds are located in a modern ward which was outfitted with new equipment last year.
For this hospital, we have procured a machine which allows for tests to be carried out at high speed (a system to automatically extract nucleic acids), 2 PCR machines for molecular diagnostics of the COVID 19 infection and we have started the process for the emergency procurement of a machine for dialysis (hemofiltration). This machine is to be used in the treatment of the patients suffering from the COVID 19 infection and who develop kidney complications.
Teams of 30 doctors, nurses and orderlies were set. The team spends 24 hours out of 24 hours in the hospital for 2 weeks and are on call each 3 days.
When they finish their on call rotation, the teams self-isolate in locations provided by Bucharest City Hall. This initiative is in accordance with the epidemic recommendations to limit the social contact of the medical personnel treating patients with COVID 19 and their families and other people.
At this time, there are 200 rooms available for the medical personnel: 100 rooms in a hotel rented by the City Hall and 107 rooms in the Hotel Rin Central Traian which was placed at the disposal of Bucharest City Hall free of charge by the Group Rin Hotels.
For Colentina Hospital – the medical teams are carrying out rotation shifts in these special circumstances; the epidemiologists from Colentina and Matei Bals medical institutions along with a representative from the Emergency Situations Department have created decontamination protocols for the medical and auxiliary personnel.
An online platform for medical consultations was set up and the requests received are later solved by the other hospitals belonging to the City Hall,
Bucur Maternity Hospital from the Sf. Ioan Emergency Hospital will be dedicated exclusively to treat the future mothers infected with the new coronavirus and will be excluded from the chain of maternity hospitals. All the patients and medical emergencies in this area will be treated at the other 4 maternity hospitals available.
Dr. Victor Gomoiu Children Hospital will take care of the children with infectious and contagious diseases which were supposed to be treated by Victor Babes and Matei Bals Hospitals. Here more on call rotations will be set up for neurology, radiology and pathology and laboratory medicine.
Carol Davila Hospital has taken the necessary actions to insure the specialized medical assistance for the critical patients with kidney failure in a dialysis program, if this is the case for an infected patient.
At the same time, all the materials and equipment needed were provided and new materials were procured as the situation progressed: sanitary materials, protective equipment and disinfectants, upon requests from the hospitals. The medical institutions had stocked up on such materials in January and February, but due to the seasonal flu outbreak, the materials were rapidly consumed. In other 8 hospitals emergency triage rooms where created, by placing containers fitted with an office for consultations and bathrooms in order to insure the proper flow of the triage. The City Hall has organized all the donations from food to medical supplies received from the private sector for hospitals and medical personnel.
Campaign for mass testing – Mobile Point of Care
At present, a project for mass testing is being set up with the support of Matei Bals Institute. Bucharest City Hall will procure 4.000 tests and the 6 district halls will procure 1.000 tests each.
At the same time, the City Hall will provide electric cars and the logistics necessary for the Mobile Point of Care
The mobile hospital to treat patients with mild conditions
Bucharest City Hall decided to join the project initiated by the Ministry of Defense to set up a mobile hospital at the Ana Aslan National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics.
The Municipal Company for Public Lighting provided personnel and the equipment necessary to carry out the works needed.
Bucharest City Hall along with the district halls insure the locations necessary for the persons which are placed in quarantine. 10 such locations are operating at this time.
Initially, the persons were placed in quarantine in the locations belonging to the City Hall and then when there were not enough places, new locations were rented from the private sector. In order to attract offers an email address was created firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Bucharest, nobody is forgotten: social assistance for the vulnerable categories, donations and volunteering
Telephone line 0800.821.218 – to ask for support
Telephone line 0800.800.868 – to make donations
During the pandemic, elderly persons, people suffering from chronic diseases, persons with disabilities, people who cannot move and single parent families may face additional difficulties.
Thus, the municipal services of social assistance were intensified for the vulnerable categories.
Bucharest City Hall provides a hot meal daily – full menu, during the time that the state of emergency is in place for the persons in vulnerable groups. The beneficiaries are: elderly people, adults with disabilities, homeless persons, persons having the lowest income, jobless persons, young people who left foster homes, single parent families.
Volunteers and the employees of the Social Assistance General Department Bucharest go shopping for food and medicine for the persons who are unable to move and in order to avoid crowded places and as a consequence reduce the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus pandemic. The elderly population have access to an emotional support system with online sessions and through the communication channels specifically available to this targeted group.
For the homeless persons 959 accommodation places were prepared in 7 social centers and new accommodation locations acquired for this purpose. The existing number of places was supplemented by renting 4 new locations through the municipal services of social assistance.
In the permanent centers belonging to Bucharest City Hall three meals a day, products for personal hygiene, supervision and social counseling are provided.
According to the projections made by the specialists in social assistance in Bucharest there are about 900 homeless people, so the spaces set up cover the need.
At the same time, the civil society and the private sector started to become involved in order to give support: at the email address email@example.com the donations consisting in products and services (such as transport services) are being received. Those interested may express the desire to become volunteers for the persons who cannot leave the house and need for a volunteer to carry out shopping for produce or other essentials.
Since March 26, money donations may be made for these vulnerable groups in a Solidarity Account opened by Bucharest City Hall
Starting on Thursday, March 26 those interested in supporting the people in need such as elderly persons with low incomes, homeless people, families with many children and who would like to contribute to the efforts made by the doctors in order to buy medicals supplies and equipment are able to do so by donating money.
We had many requests from people willing to donate money on the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Thus, Bucharest City Hall has opened the Solidarity Account at the Bucharest Treasury for those interested.
Online school: the classed were suspended, but not the education
Cultural events moved online
Since the students are staying at home, the City Hall looked for an opportunity to make possible for the classes to take place online: at the beginning of March the online platform hubproedus.ro was launched, one of the most innovative and interactive platforms of e-learning, with thousands of hours of learning and 10 different areas. The platform covers the preschool area, primary school, high school, materials for special education, sporting activities which may be carried out at home, diction lessons, expressivity classes, theatre for preschoolers along with information about the local public administration explained to the children.
The platform hosts video classes for children and these classes are shared live on the Facebook page as well, in the project School TV.
Host the culture in your own home!
The theaters and other cultural institutions in Bucharest are being part of the #stayathome campaign, by inviting the audience to be a part of cultural events online. Many institutions are broadcasting scheduled shows, reruns and other cultural activities which can be viewed on their internet pages or social media pages.
During this time, special attention is given to the essential infrastructure and public utilities in order for the vital public services to be provided in an optimal manner.