Rome, Italy, Mar 18, 2020 / 13:30 pm
"When people need us, we satisfy their need for God," said Fr. Cesare Pluchinotta, a chaplain in Rome's primary hospital for Covid-19 patients. The difference in Pluchinotta's ministry is he must try to fulfill these spiritual needs through glass.
Fr. Pluchinotta is one of two priest chaplains at Spallanzani Hospital, home to Rome's National Institute of Infectious Diseases. Stationed there just six months, he is now grappling with the reality of bringing the sacraments to patients under isolation, in what has become the region's "Covid Hospital 1."
As Rome reacts to the growing number of coronavirus cases in Italy's Lazio region, hospitals are being specially designated and set up specifically to treat Covid-19 infections. This is one of several measures to isolate the virus and keep other patients safe which Italy's hardest-hit northern regions were unable to take before the grave outbreak of the coronavirus.
As of March 18, there were 194 coronavirus patients at Spallanzani Hospital. Of these patients, 19 are receiving respiratory support. Lazio has 418 coronavirus patients hospitalized overall, and 32 have died from the pandemic.