Greek city to use Christmas money for more ICU beds

A city in northern Greece hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic says it will scrap plans to set up Christmas decorations and a nativity scene this year to donate the money to the local hospital's intensive care ward

“We have decided to use the funds to pay for two additional ICU spaces, three medical monitors, and 1,000 protective suits for medical staff,” the mayor of Serres, Alekos Chrysafis, told The Associated Press.

City officials said the donation to the state-run Serres General Hospital was expected to total 110,000 euros ($130,000.) They added that a tree would be put up in the center of the city of nearly 60,000 people.

“A few days ago we had a terrible surge in cases,” he told the AP. “Around 100 patients have died of coronavirus in the hospital, just one of them during the first wave of the pandemic."

The hospital started with just six beds in its ICU, but is now near capacity with 16 out of 17 beds occupied, he added.

Greece has suffered more than 2,700 COVID-19 deaths, with most occurring in the month of November. The country has confirmed a total of some 111,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

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