Kuressaare Hospital in Saaremaa announced on social media Friday night that the wait time for coronavirus testing has reached 36 hours, as the hospital lacks sufficient staff for handling testing.
"To be honest and without skirting the issue, it must be noted that the wait time for giving samples for coronavirus testing is approximately 36 hours," the hospital wrote on social media. "All of our existing brigades are working, and one Kuressaare ambulance brigade was busy transporting a patient to the mainland (unrelated to the coronavirus). We can take samples every day through 9 p.m., and continue in the morning."
The hospital is stressing to island residents that as it continues to operate with only its own staff, anyone with cold-like symptoms should use standard approaches to alleviating symptoms and remain at home so that paramedics can focus on responding to more critical calls.
Kuressaare Hospital also noted that it has contacted the Health Board seeking the help of an additional nurse brigade, but has yet to receive a response.
The Health Board told ERR that the request has been forwarded to its crisis headquarters. It has yet to respond to a follow-up question inquiring when a response could be expected.
As of Friday night, a total of 79 cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had been diagnosed in Estonia. The highest number of cases have been in Tallinn and Harju County, Võru County and Saare County.
Ester Öpik, director of the Northern Regional Department of the Health Board, said in an appearance on "Ringvaade" on Friday night that to date, the agency's labs have tested more than 700 samples for the virus.
Editor: Aili Vahtla