Saaremaa will receive additional health workers and medical supplies to help cope with the coronavirus outbreak which has seen the island's diagnosed cases match Tallinn's, the Health Board on Saturday.
Ester Öpik, head of the Northern Regional Office of the Health Board, said at a press conference the most critical situation is now in Saaremaa, where the number of diagnosed cases is almost as high as in Tallinn and Harju County combined.
There are currently 217 cases in Saaremaa and 220 in Tallinn and Harju County. Saaremaa has a population of approximately 33,300 while Harju County's is 582,500.
On Friday evening, it was confirmed that 22 residents at a care home had contracted COVID-19 as well as three staff members.
Öpik stated that as of Saturday, 26 residents and employees of the Saaremaa Heart Center had been identified as having an infection.
"What has been considered as the most dangerous [scenario] has happened in Saaremaa. /.../ It is now clear that not all people who have received a positive diagnosis at the Südamekodu care home need hospital treatment. Yesterday (Friday - Ed.), we asked for immediate isolation of those diagnosed with the disease. According to our information, they are in different parts of the building today," said Öpik.
The Health Board believes that Südamekodu care home needs to be completely quarantined, including the staff.
Öpik said more than 5,000 surgical masks have been provided to staff in all nursing homes in Saaremaa. In addition, extra medical staff will be deployed.
"It is clear that additional resources are needed for Kuressaare Hospital. As we have discontinued planned treatment in the private sector and family doctor centers, it is possible to direct the released resources - doctors and nurses - to Saaremaa," said Öpik.
Öpik said it is very important that all nursing home staff members wear masks when they carry out their duties and all guidelines are followed.
Editor: Helen Wright